Conservative MP Bill Cash has claimed that Theresa May would survive a no confidence vote.
The politician who is chair of the European Scrutiny Committee claimed that "figures at the moment" suggest the Prime Minister would win enough votes to survive a motion of no confidence, despite widespread criticism of her Brexit strategy from party members.
Motions of no confidence can be triggered if 15 per cent of Conservative MPs write a letter to the chairman of the party's 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, saying they have lost confidence in their party leader.
- Read more: Conservative MP calls for Theresa May to step down as leader minutes before her keynote speech
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"Actually the figures at the moment as far as anybody can judge are that actually she would win and if she did, then that would be setting us back and not going forward," Mr Cash revealed.
"If in fact we reach the threshold, then we had a vote, and the result of that vote was to reinforce the position of the Prime Minister in these matters, we wouldn't be able to retrieve that situation."
Mr Cash added that he was not among the Conservative party members that had submitted a letter to the 1922 Committee.
James Duddridge MP submitted a letter of no confidence minutes before Theresa May's keynote speech at this year's Conservative party conference, and Andrew Bridgen MP is believed to have been the first Conservative member to write to the chairman with his no confidence letter, submitted in July.
Iain Duncan Smith was the last Conservative leader to be ousted in a vote of confidence in 2003.