James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, submitted the letter less than an hour before the Prime Minister to due to make her keynote speech at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham.

In a dramatic move that could trigger more dissent against the PM, Boris Johnson-ally Duddridge said a “proper leadership election” is needed to deliver a Brexit “the electorate voted for”.

His letter comes after he appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning to heap praise on Johnson for delivering an “inspirational” and “motivational” speech outlining his vision for Brexit.

At least 48 Conservative MPs must send no confidence letters to Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of backbenchers, in order to trigger a vote on the PM’s leadership of the party.

In his letter to Brady he wrote: “I am normally a loyalist, served in the Whip’s Office for nearly five years and have never voted against the government.

“However, there comes a point that blind loyalty is not the right way forward.

“We need a strong leader, someone who believes in Brexit and someone to deliver what the electorate voted for.

“The Prime Minister seems incapable of doing this.

“I have not met a single MP who thinks she will lead us into another election after the last disastrous snap election.

“We will fail to cut through on issues other than Brexit until we are beyond Brexit, yet the can is kicked further and further down the road.

“I write this with heavy heart, however we now need a proper leadership election and to move on.”

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