Tory MPs have been accused of fighting like “rats in a bag” as the party’s leadership race descended into open warfare.
Culture Minister Nadine Dorries publicly slammed leadership candidate Rishi Sunak on Twitter for his expensive wardrobe.
“Liz Truss will be traveling the country wearing her earrings, which cost around £4.50 at Claire’s Accessories,” she wrote.
“Meanwhile… Rishi hits Teesside wearing £450 Prada shoes and a £3,500 bespoke suit as he prepares for the leadership vote.”
This prompted her Tory colleague Angela Richardson MP to respond: “FFS Nadine! Muted.”
Richardson stepped down from her role as assistant secretary to Michael Gove in January, citing her “deep disappointment” over partygate.
Dorris’ comments also prompted veterans’ affairs minister Johnny Mercer, who is part of the cabinet, to describe the competition as “embarrassing”.
A senior Tory has said his party is on the brink of defeat at the next general election.
“Back in Whitehall today – maybe just a few weeks to make a difference,” he wrote.
“Probably, it should be remembered that on the current trajectory we will be out of power in two years.
“The childish nature of this leadership contest is disconcerting. Time to raise standards.”
Labour’s shadow justice secretary Steve Reid commented: “Like rats in a bag”.
It comes amid reports that cabinet ministers are openly considering whether the party needs a period in opposition to regroup after being marred by scandal.
Tory staff told HuffPost UK they were “fed up” with the bitter infighting.
The battle between Truss and Sunak to become the next prime minister was particularly fierce.
Both candidates and their supporters directly attacked their opponents’ records.
The pair will face each other in their first televised debate tonight, ahead of Tuesday’s Talk TV and Sun debate and next week’s Sky News debate.