Rishi Sunak appears to have lost control of events and must get a grip on the multiple crises besetting Britain, George Osborne has warned.
The former chancellor said there is a “general sense” that Downing Street is not on top of challenges like illegal migration and strikes.
He added it is “so dangerous for a government” when the public gets such an impression and the next general election is now “Labour’s to lose”.
Mr Osborne is a natural ally of the Prime Minister, with the pair sharing similar political views, and his forthright assessment will alarm No 10.
He warned the “enormous daily frustration” people face when dealing with state bureaucracy was adding to a sense that Britain is broken.
'Enormous daily frustration'
“Since Rishi Sunak’s claim to government is competence, he and his ministers need to diffuse all these different issues,” he told Channel 4.
“The queues - things like passports, driving licences - that is out there every day in people’s daily experience. It really annoys.
“It’s an enormous daily frustration. There’s the strikes not just on the railways, we’ve got a nurses' strike coming up.
“We’ve got the problems of the protesters on the roads, we’ve got the small boats.
“There’s a general sense that the Government is not in control of events and that’s so dangerous for a government.”
He said while the Tories were still in a strong position just a few months ago, they now have almost no hope of winning the next election.
His remarks came ahead of a crunch week for the Prime Minister, who is facing growing pressure from his own MPs on a number of fronts.
Mr Sunak is attempting to stave off two growing rebellions over house-building targets and ending the ban on onshore wind.
On Sunday, backbenchers opened up a third front, with more than 50 signing a letter calling for a crackdown on “bogus” asylum seekers.
They said that emergency laws should be passed so illegal immigrants who claim to be victims of modern slavery can be sent back to their home country.
The campaign is being led by David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, and comes amid growing unease amongst MPs over small boat crossings.
Some backbenchers in Red Wall seats fear they risk losing their seats because anger over migration is driving voters towards the Reform party.
Nigel Farage said he has held talks with “a few” who have indicated they could jump ship to his movement before the next election.
“This is a conversation that they’re having with people like me,” he told The Telegraph.
“I think if Reform’s growth in terms of numbers, people giving money and opinion polling, if that grows this starts to become a serious possibility.”
Mr Sunak also faces a crunch week if he is to avert a wave of strikes that could cripple Britain in the run-up to Christmas.
Rail workers and train drivers are threatening to walk out in the run-up to the festive season, plunging millions of people’s holiday plans into chaos.
Nurses are also poised to strike next month in a dispute over pay, with teachers being balloted over whether to follow suit early next year.
Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, has warned that "inflation-busting pay rises are unaffordable" and "there isn't the money to pay for those".