THERE was yet more speculation about Theresa May’s future as the Tory civil war on Europe threatened to tear the party apart.

Once loyal advisers and MPs turned on the Prime Minister yesterday, recommending she leave before she gets forced out.

The internal strife is set to overshadow May’s trip to China this week, where she’s leading a delegation of over 40 businesses, universities and trade associations, including Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, HSBC, and BP.

Tory MP Johnny Mercer, said while a change of leadership would be unhelpful, he thought it still very likely.

“How long has the prime minister got? I am of the view that any sort of change in leadership is not helpful at the moment and I don’t support that, but I do think the window is closing because politics can be quite a brutal game,” he said.

He added that May had failed to inspire people: “You have to deliver. You can’t just always talk about the speech outside No 10 Downing Street – which was very very good.

“You have to bridge the gap between that and how it feels if you are suffering from mental health problems in a place like Plymouth,” he said.

Nick Timothy, who stopped working as May’s co-chief of staff shortly after the disastrous Tory general election campaign in June, said the government was failing to show “purpose and direction”.

“It feels increasingly clear that the country is tired of austerity and the public services are starting to feel the strain a little bit,” he said. “While the NHS needs reform it also needs more money, and I don’t think many people think the defence budget is sustainable. There’s quite a strong argument that fiscal policy needs to change.”

Energy minister, Claire Perry, yesterday tried to clear the air with Leave backing colleagues, after messages describing critics of the Brexit divorce bill as “the swivel-eyed few” were leaked to press.

Perry made the comments in a private WhatsApp message to a group of Tory MPs.

She was replying to Tory MP, Ben Bradley saying he was “getting some shit from the usual subjects about sell-outs and traitors” over reports the government would agree to pay the EU £39 billion as part of the Brexit process.

Perry wrote: “The ‘sell-out traitor mob’ should be ignored. Listening to them means wrecking the economy in the short term and via a Corbyn government delivering a long, steady, slow decline for the country we love.

“I would hypothesise that they are mostly elderly retired men who do not have mortgages, school-aged children or caring responsibilities so they represent the swivel-eyed few not the many we represent.”

In a series of tweets, Perry said: “Passions were running high and mine spilled over. No excuses but it was painful to see hard-working, loyal colleagues branded as ‘traitors’.

“My comments were exclusively directed at those using the term of ‘traitor’ to describe my colleagues, and to suggest that I am somehow applying them to anyone else is 100 per cent wrong.

“Whether one voted leave or remain in 2016 no longer matters. There is a unity of purpose to deliver the smooth and orderly Brexit that the PM and Brexit secretary are negotiating.”

Former education secretary, Justine Greening, who was sacked in the Prime Minister’s botched reshuffle earlier this month, said her fellow Tory MPs should support May.

“I remain a strong backer of the prime minister,” Greening told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in her first interview since returning to the backbenches.

“I’ve been very disappointed to see the soundings off – I think they need to stop, and I think people need to get behind her. She’s doing an important job for our country and we need to support her in that impossible, almost, task that she has, negotiating Brexit.”

But another former Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, said the Cabinet had a “duty” to take control of the government if May becomes too weak.

She told the London Evening Standard: “We are now facing a critical nine months for our country in delivering Brexit. If the Prime Minister can’t drive the strategy then the Cabinet need to take the reins, do it for her and think big and bold”.