An aide to Rishi Sunak has quit and joined an effort to oust him, warning the Conservative Party could be destroyed by Christmas.
Will Dry, a special adviser responsible for polling and opinion research at Number 10, resigned in November “after steadily becoming more dispirited”.
After leaving Downing Street, he joined “others” who believe the Tories “are heading for the most almighty of defeats” at the general election later this year.
In a new statement, he said: “Everyone in this country can see just how colossal the challenges we face are.
“Sadly, it became clear to me we weren’t providing the bold, decisive action required to overcome those challenges. You cannot dent them without internalising just how fundamentally broken our political system is.
“I further concluded, again sorrowfully, that we are heading for the most almighty of defeats.
“Be in no doubt: we are heading for at least a decade of Labour rule. And if Farage comes back, the Conservative Party essentially won’t exist by Christmas.”
Mr Dry’s appointment to Downing Street in November 2022 made headlines as he was known for being a Remainer activist who co-founded the pro-EU Our Future Our Choice group. He had actually voted Leave in the Brexit referendum, but said he made a mistake.
In his statement, Mr Dry went onto say that – after resigning from Number 10 – he has “worked with others to alert the Conservative Party to the danger the country and it is in”.
According to The Times, which first reported on the story, this includes former government political advisers and MPs who believe the party is doomed under Mr Sunak’s leadership.
However it is not clear how big this group is.
Former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke, who issued a broadside against Mr Sunak this week, insisted he was acting alone in calling for the PM to go to avoid being “massacred” at the election.
His comments were met with criticism from senior Tories, who accused him of engaging in “facile and divisive self-indulgence”.
Mr Dry said while it looks like MPs don’t want to change leader, “they owe it to the country’s future to reflect” on this.
He said he had not intended to say anything publicly until he was contacted by journalists on Wednesday afternoon about his work.
According to The Times, he helped to draw up questions for a recent YouGov poll of 14,000 people commissioned by unnamed Tory donors, calling themselves the Conservative Britain Alliance (CBA).
The poll said the Tories are heading for an electoral wipeout on the scale of their 1997 defeat to Labour.
Mr Dry insisted he believed the prime minister and his team “are very good people” – adding: “They work very hard, are decent, and do what they think is right for the country. I respect them hugely. “
However, he warned: “Those who think we can’t do much better than this are dead wrong.
“Those who think the public don’t want much better than this are also dead wrong.”