A CONSERVATIVE back-bencher has openly launched a bid to oust Prime Minister David Cameron as party leader, blaming him for the rise of Ukip and loss of members over gay marriage.
The North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen has become the first MP to confirm that he has sent a letter to the Tory 1922 committee asking for a vote of confidence in his leader.
For a vote of confidence to be triggered, 46 Conservative MPs need to send letters, and it is understood that between 25 and 30 have already been sent by MPs angry over Mr Cameron’s support for gay marriage and failure to take the strong line they want on leaving the European Union.
Mr Bridgen, 48, said: “There is a credibility problem with the current leader.
“It’s like being in an aeroplane,” he said. “The pilot doesn’t know how to land it. We can either do something about it or sit back, watch the in-flight movies and wait for the inevitable.”
The attack comes a week after a letter by 81 Tory MPs attacked Mr Cameron’s policy on Syria, in another sign that his authority with the grass-roots of the party is waning.
Mr Brudgen is also known to be close to Windsor Tory MP Adam Afriyie, who has been linked to a Conservative leadership plot.
However, Foreign Secretary William Hague, himself a former party leader, defended the Prime Minister and dismissed the story.
He said: “David Cameron is a brilliant Prime Minister. He is someone who does a fantastic job for this country.”