Graham Stewart (Photo: Sky News)
Nadine Dorries should “settle down” and let Liz Truss get on with the job, climate minister Graham Stuart has said.
The former culture secretary has warned the prime minister needs to change course or risk leading the Tories to a landslide defeat at the next general election.
Dorries, a close ally of Boris Johnson who backed Truss during the leadership race, said she feared the party was “lurching to the right” and abandoning the centre ground to Labour.
Speaking to Sky News on Friday morning, Stuart suggested Dorries attacks were based on hurt feelings over no longer being in government.
“We’ve just done - with this energy support package - one of the biggest interventions by the state to help people we have ever seen,” he said.
“I know how bruising it can be when you leave government and what I did and I would certainly advise Nadine to, the best thing to do, is to settle down a little while and let the new team get on with the job.
“That’s what we are doing and we are doing it in a way which is putting the long term interests of the British people first.”
Dorries quit the cabinet when Truss was elected leader, despite being offered the opportunity to keep her job. She is widely expected to be handed a seat in the House of Lords in Johnson’s resignation honours.
On Wednesday, following a bruising Tory party conference dominated by infighting and a dramatic U-turn over plans to cut the 45p rate of tax, Dorries issued a scathing statement to The Times.
“I understand that we need to rocket-booster growth but you don’t do that by throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” she said.
“You don’t win elections by lurching to the right and deserting the centre ground for Keir Starmer to place his flag on.
“If we continue down this path, we absolutely will be facing a Stephen Harper-type wipeout. I’m sure she’s listened and will stop and rethink.”
Former Canadian prime minister Harper lost power to Justin Trudeau in the 2015 election after a decade of Conservative rule.
Dorries also raised fears about rowing back from raising benefits in line with inflation – which would mean a real-terms cut in welfare for the poorest households during a cost-of-living crisis.
“It would be cruel, unjust and fundamentally unconservative,” she said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.