The director of the Popular Conservatism group has said “the party could be over” if it selects a new leader who cannot stabilise it.

Mark Littlewood said whilst he hoped the next leader would win the next general election, right now it was “looking for a doctor”.

He told GB News: “The only Tory who has had a good week is Bob Blackman. He is the only Conservative in the country who managed to get more than 50% of the vote in his constituency, the only one.

“And then he did actually get more than 50% of the total Tory MPs, so even if people like Mark Francois missed it, it wouldn’t have affected the vote.

“It is going to take a little bit of time. I would do this if I were the Tory party. I’d put some of the old guard up, like the Jeremy Hunts of this world, and their only job is to hold Labour to account on a day to day business level, in the House of Commons, fighting against the ludicrous votes for 16-year-olds.

“…let’s be clear, with a majority of 170, this stuff’s going to pass, right? It doesn’t really matter in Parliament how the Conservatives vote, it’s a colossal majority. It’s about the public debate.

“So I’d ask the old hands like Jeremy Hunt, who I understand has no leadership ambitions, to try and run the opposition while the rest of the party, the next generation of the party, decides what its leadership is. I think you can do that in parallel.

“I hope that the next leader of the Conservative Party becomes Prime Minister, but let’s be honest here, when the Conservatives elect their new leader, we’re not necessarily looking for the next Prime Minister. We’re looking for a surgeon or a doctor or a necromancer to revive the dead corpse of the Conservative Party.

“That’s the priority, actually. And the Conservatives have come out of this election very, very badly injured, but they are still the second party in vote share and in seats. Stabilising that for a year or two is the overriding priority. Get that wrong and the party could be over.”