A delegation of Conservative backbenchers have held talks with Boris Johnson amid swirling speculation about MPs’ dissatisfaction over his performance as prime minister.
In an unusual move, the executive of the 1922 Committee met the PM en masse in 10 Downing Street.
It came as a senior Tory MP told The Independent that the PM risks a challenge to his leadership in the new year unless he halts his recent run of political blunders.
Party sources have played down reports that as many as a dozen MPs have sent letters of no confidence in the PM to 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady, with whips saying they had no information of this happening.
A total of 54 letters are required to trigger a leadership election, but Sir Graham always remains firmly tight-lipped about the number he has received until the threshold is passed.
Brady confirmed today that the executive had met the Prime Minister in No 10 but declined to comment on their discussions.
The meeting prompted inevitable speculation that the 13-member committee wanted to raise backbench concerns about a torrid month for the PM, which has seen the Tories slump behind Labour in the polls after a series of self-inflicted blows, starting with the botched attempt to save an MP from punishment for sleaze and also taking in the mishandled launches of policies on rail and social care.
Earlier, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman played down reports of tensions between Mr Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak.
“They continue to work together very well at all levels,” the spokesman said.