Boris Johnson would defeat any attempt to oust him as prime minister, a cabinet ally has said.
Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, was asked on Sunday if Johnson would survive a no confidence vote.
“Yes, but I would go further,” he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme. “I don’t think we are in that space.”
Lewis also said the prime minister would be able to continue even if the Conservatives lost next month’s Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton by-elections.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said when asked if defeated at the hands of the voters on June 23 would put Johnson’s position in peril. “I equally don’t think we will lose those two by-elections,” he added.
A number of Tory MPs have publicly demanded Johnson resign as PM following the Sue Gray report into partygate.
More than 20 MPs have publicly stated that they no longer support the prime minister.
Calling for a leadership contest, Steve Brine, the MP for Winchester, said he could no longer “defend the indefensible”. In a statement he said: “Rule makers cannot be law-breakers.”
Treasury minister John Glen stopped short of calling for a change of leader, but has also warned him he is in “yellow card territory”.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, will be obliged to order a confidence vote if he receives 54 letters demanding one.
The actual number of letters that have been delivered may be higher than the number of MPs who have declared opposition to Johnson, as it is a secret process. Brady will not reveal how been received until the threshold has been met.