DAVID Cameron has intervened in the on-going UK Cabinet feud by suggesting there were several former colleagues he would like to strap together on a raft on a “very, very dangerous river”.

The former Prime Minister made his remarks as his successor Theresa May today prepares to read the Riot Act to Cabinet ministers following a spate of malevolent leaks aimed at undermining Chancellor Philip Hammond on Brexit.

Senior Tory sources suggested the PM would receive strong backing from backbenchers at this Wednesday’s meeting of the party’s 1922 backbench committee – the last of the session – when MPs are expected to hit out at feuding frontbenchers.

Loading article content

One MP said: “All this sniping has to stop. The backbenchers are furious at the damage some ministers are doing to the party.”

Another made clear that no one in the parliamentary party wanted Mrs May to step down any time soon given the danger of another election being called and suggested her successor could come from the intake of 2010 or 2015 rather than the old guard.

“If anyone thinks either Boris Johnson, David Davis or Andrea Leadsom is the answer to any question, then they don’t realise why the party in England did so badly at the election,” he said.

Mr Cameron, currently writing his political memoirs, said: “It is very important the Conservative Party doesn't slip backwards; it only succeeds if it is a party of the future.”

He went on: "I want us to go on being the open, liberal, tolerant party that we became post-2005 because that was part of our success."

The former PM also stressed that his party needed to work harder to win young people back to the Tory fold by offering a “more inspiring vision” of a caring Conservative society.

Speaking after chairing a board meeting of patrons of the National Citizen Service scheme, which he founded, the former Tory leader was asked if any of his former squabbling Cabinet colleagues could benefit from the kind of outward-bound courses, which the scheme ran. He replied: "If it involved crossing a very, very dangerous river on a raft, I can think of a few I'd want to strap together."

Meanwhile, Lord Heseltine, the former Deputy Prime Minister, denounced the "very distressing" Cabinet infighting and said the PM could “not sack leading Brexiteers because she has no authority, so you have an enfeebled government".

Stephen Gethins for the SNP claimed a “distracted and divided” May administration was jeopardising the Brexit talks and called on the PM to “get a grip”.

Over the weekend, Mr Hammond hit back at the leaks from last Tuesday’s Cabinet in which he was said to have told colleagues that public sector workers were “overpaid,” a claim he failed to deny, and that trains were so easy to drive nowadays that “even” a woman could do it, a remark he did deny making.

He said: "Some of the noise is generated by people who are not happy with the agenda that I have tried to advance of ensuring that we achieve a Brexit which is focused on protecting our economy, protecting our jobs and making sure that we can continue having rising living standards in the future."

However, the briefing war continued with one Cabinet minister saying: “What's really going on is the Establishment, the Treasury, is trying to f*** it up. They want to frustrate Brexit.”

No 10 made clear its displeasure at the briefing war with the PM’s spokesman stressing how Cabinet discussions on Government policy should remain private and that Mrs May “will be reminding her colleagues of that at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow; she will be reminding them of their responsibilities”.

Asked if she thought the Chancellor was indeed trying to “f*** it up,” her spokesman replied: “Look, I’m not getting into anonymous quotes. What I would say is the Government is all working together to deliver Brexit, which delivers on the will of the British people.”