One current MP and former minister denied to Sky News that they were behind any “plot”, but added that the Prime Minister would find it “very, very difficult to survive”.
They said the “image of her leaving Downing Street with tears in her eyes” would have a profound effect on the party.
But they added there were “probably many more” than the 30 disaffected MPs allegedly held on a list by Mr Shapps, warning: “I think the party is in a dreadful hole”.
“I think the damage that would be done to the party if she was forced out would be immense, and like many others I hope she herself will conclude that the best thing would be to go.
“What Grant is saying is widely agreed with.”
Another current MP and former minister who said Mrs May should step down told Sky News “the writing is on the wall – I can’t see her going on”.
Most MPs Sky News contacted said Mrs May should stay on for the good of party and country, praising her “grit” after a problem-plagued conference speech.
Some simply offered their “full support” and said they were “100%” backing the PM.
Others have lined up to criticise Mr Shapps, who claimed a “broad spread” of MPs from across the party backed a leadership election.
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said the former party chairman should “shut up”, while colleague Nadine Dorries told Sky News he was “plain wrong”.
Source: Sky News