Former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke has called on Rishi Sunak to step down to save the Tories from being wiped out in the General Election.

The Tory MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland warned the Conservative Party, who have been in power since 2010, are facing a heavy losses when the country goes to the polls this year.

Sir Simon, an ally of Mr Sunak’s short-lived predecessor Liz Truss, was one of 11 Conservative MPs to vote against the prime minister's Rwanda bill last week.

Writing in the Telegraph, he said: “We have a clear choice. Stick with Rishi Sunak, take the inevitable electoral consequences, and give the Left a blank cheque to change Britain as they see fit.

"Or we can change leader, and give our country and party a fighting chance."

Sir Simon said the party could face an 'election massacre'.

He added: "It is time to strip away illusion, and stop tolerating any indulgence of it.

"Our country, with all the challenges we face, is on the brink of being run by Keir Starmer's Labour for a decade or more.

"If Nigel Farage returns to the fray, as looks increasingly likely, extinction is a very real possibility for our party.

"And it is now beyond doubt that whilst the prime minister is far from solely responsible for our present predicament, his uninspiring leadership is the main obstacle to our recovery."

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A recent poll predicted the Conservative Party faces scores of losses in the General Election set to take place this year.

A senior Tory source told The Sun: “This is a self-indulgent attempt to undermine the government at a critical moment for the country.

“He may claim to be helping the party but the only person he is doing any favours for is Sir Keir Starmer.”