A Conservative former minister for Preston North and South Ribble has called on members of Theresa May's Cabinet to "shut up, grow up and concentrate on doing the job for which they were elected - namely, running the country".
Sir Robert Atkins, who served in the administrations of Margaret Thatcher and John Major and is now chairman of the Conservatives in North-West England, said that some "childish and disloyal" Cabinet ministers "whose ambitions far exceed their abilities" were behaving like "ferrets in a sack" as they jockey to succeed Mrs May as leader.
The senior activist, who was an MP for Preston North 1979–1983, and South Ribble, 1983–1997 and an MEP for 15 years, did not name the ministers who he blames for a rash of leaks from Cabinet.
But he said: "The Conservative membership in my region - and, I think, elsewhere - is, of course, very unhappy with the result of the general election and the manner in which the campaign was conducted.
"They want the party hierarchy to listen and to change, sooner rather than later.
"What they do not want and do not like is for certain senior people who should know better to be on constant 'manoeuvres' around the party, jockeying for leadership positions and generally being childish and disloyal.
"The Conservative Party in government has an excellent historic reputation for command and control, leavened by competence," he concluded.
"So let's see more of that and less of the backbiting and off-the-record briefing.
"There is a Prime Minister in place and much work to be done. Get on with it."