Conservative MPs are circulating names for who should replace Liz Truss as prime minister, a former minister has suggested.
Downing Street has declined to say whether Truss is concerned about a loss of confidence in her leadership following a bruising meeting with Tory backbenchers.
Pressure has mounted on the Government to reverse course on the mini-budget set out by chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng.
No 10 has rejected suggestions that further U-turns could take place, having already dropped its plans to abolish the 45p tax rate for higher earners.
Market uncertainty following the announcements by Kwarteng saw the pound fall in value.
The Bank of England also stepped up its emergency bond-buying scheme this week as it warned of a “material risk to UK financial stability”.
Conservative Party members elected Truss as their new leader at the start of September.
However, she is now as unpopular as former prime minister John Major was after Black Wednesday when Britain crashed out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, according to polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice.
“Liz Truss is now deeply unpopular,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.
“She is more unpopular than Boris Johnson was at the worst period of his premiership, which was in the middle of January this year when the partygate scandal was at its height.
“She finds herself at pretty much the same level of popularity as did John Major about a few weeks after Black Wednesday in September 1992, which of course is the last time a Conservative administration got into trouble with the markets.”
He added: “She’s got two problems. One is she isn’t really liked. Her personality is not one that warms to the general public. And secondly, now she is regarded as incompetent.”
Nadine Dorries, former Cabinet minister and close ally of Boris Johnson, just last week said that the party has “no mandate from the people” to enact Truss’ government policies, which largely ditches much of that by the previous government.
However, she declared on Thursday that MPs cannot “foist” another prime minister on the public that they have not voted for, while giving her backing to Truss.
On Twitter, Dorries wrote: “MPs circulating a smorgasboard (sic) of names re who should replace Truss as PM are not taking into account that they cannot foist upon the British public another Prime Minister that the public have not voted for. A totally untenable position. #backliz.”