THE simmering tensions within the Conservative Party have yet again boiled over with an excoriating article in The Telegraph by former cabinet minister Simon Clarke, who has called on Rishi Sunak to step down as party leader and Prime Minister because Clarke warns that the party is being led to a "massacre" at the General Election expected to be held later this year.

Clarke was briefly a cabinet minister in Liz Truss's clown car of a government, and it's a symptom of the arrogance which is the norm in the Conservative Party that Clarke thinks this experience qualifies him to lecture anyone on winning political formulas.

Clarke wrote that many of his party colleagues fear that yet another change of leader would make the Conservatives look ridiculous.

Oh, Simon, sweetie, that ship has sailed, hit Liz Truss's iceberg lettuce, and is currently rusting on the ocean floor.

The Tories have been looking ridiculous for a very long time now, which is why they are being trounced in the polls by Keir Starmer, an anodyne Blairite corporatist and serial U-turner who would struggle to win a popularity contest in his own living room.

Clarke (below) blames Sunak as the main obstacle to the Tory recovery, and not, you know, the corruption, the sleaze, the chaos, and the incompetence in which the party is mired.

The National: Simon Clarke

However, with opinion poll after opinion poll painting dire electoral prospects for the Tories. the party's backbench MPs are growing increasing nervous and restless as they face the looming prospect of electoral oblivion and unemployment.

As we get closer to the election more and more of them will feel that they have nothing to lose and speak out against a Prime Minister who reportedly enjoys little in the way of personal popularity amongst his own backbenchers.

Even the perma-smug Scottish Tory MP Andrew Bowie is a whole lot less smug these days as he eyes his wafer thin majority of 843 and sees fellow Tory MPs with majorities of tens of thousands losing their seats in by-elections.

Bowie was quoted in a leaked WhatsApp message as telling his party colleagues to "get a f***ing grip."

Yet even though senior party figures have queued up to criticise Clarke for being "unhelpful", there is little sign that Tory nerves will quieten down any time soon.

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Indeed, the rebels will take heart from a new opinion poll published today which shows that voters in England would prefer a Tory party with a different leader to Keir Starmer.

This will strengthen the arguments of those Tories who want Sunak removed as party leader in order to save their party from a meltdown at the next General Election.

The YouGov poll of 13,000 voters in England suggests that a new Tory leader could secure a convincing victory over Labour, although notably it did not put a name to who that new leader might be.

Put another way, a non-existent fairytale Tory leader who is perfectly in tune with the concerns and values of voters in England is more popular than an untrustworthy Labour leader whose only consistent principle is his willingness to ditch all his previous promises in pursuit of power. You don't say.

The big problem with this poll is that it is essentially meaningless.

Without knowing who this hypothetical new leader is and what they stand for, they can be all things to all people with no downsides.

Nevertheless, it provides a straw that rebel Tories will gratefully clutch. The Tory civil war is not likely to end any time soon.

Rishi Sunak refuses to call callous murder of unarmed Palestinian a “war crime”

In an illustration of the true depths of moral bankruptcy into which the British Government has sunk, the SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn used his question at PMQs today to ask Rishi Sunak to condemn a shocking incident caught on camera by ITV News which was broadcast while Tory MPs were fighting amongst themselves.

A group of unarmed civilians carrying a white flag were interviewed by an ITV cameraman in Gaza, telling him that they had fled from Gaza City to Khan Younis and were now making their way to Rafah in an attempt to escape the destruction and Israeli forces.

The man, identified as Ramzi Abu Sahloul, said: "Everywhere you find the Israeli Army. They shoot at us at home, in any building and in the street."

His words were to prove tragically prophetic because seconds after the interview concluded Mr Abu Sahloul was shot in the chest by an Israeli sniper and killed even though he was clearly unarmed and posed no threat and was standing amongst a group of unarmed men with their hands up.

The National:

Stephen Flynn said: "Last night as Tory MPs were once again fighting amongst themselves the public were sat at home watching John Irvine of ITV News report on footage from Gaza of an unarmed Palestinian man, walking under a white flag, being shot and killed by the IDF.

“Prime Minister, such an act constitutes a war crime, does it not?"

He added: "I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the PM of the UK to tell the people that shooting an unarmed man walking under a white flag is a war crime."

Yet Sunak refused to condemn the incident as a war crime and once more refused to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, where an estimated 1.9 million people have been displaced and over 25,000 people have been confirmed killed.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak REFUSES to condemn Israeli 'war crime' filmed by ITV

Sunak insisted he had asked Netanyahu to "show restraint."

All Sunak was prepared to say was: "Mr Speaker no-one wants to see this conflict go on for a moment longer than necessary, and we do want to see an immediate and sustained humanitarian pause."

Not even a clear war crime which thousands witnessed will get this Prime Minister, nor for that matter Keir Starmer, to call out the actions of the Israeli armed forces for what they are: war crimes.

The war crimes committed by Hamas do not justify committing war crimes in retaliation, but the British political leadership is so morally compromised that it cannot even make that simple point.