A minister hit back today after one of his colleagues described Rishi Sunak as a “wounded stoat”.
Will Quince, who is backing Sunak, said the blue-on-blue attacks during the Tory party leadership race had been “totally unnecessary”.
He made the comments after a senior ally of frontrunner Liz Truss accused the former chancellor of “behaving like a wounded stoat” and “framing us as Tory scum”.
The race to succeed Boris Johnson has been particularly bitter and involved leaks, briefings and public spats.
On Monday Sunak laughed off speculation that Liz Truss might offer him the health secretary job in her cabinet, saying: “You really need to agree with the big things.”
A senior ally of Truss told The Times: “Sunak is in a complete micro-world of his own, he’s thrashing around all over the place like a wounded stoat.
“All he’s doing is attacking her. At some point someone has to grab him by the scruff of the neck and say what are you doing? Are you trying to destroy this party?”
Education minister Quince told Sky News: “I haven’t seen those comments as it was an early start this morning. But what I would say on that is one of the things that I found most difficult about the leadership contest has been the sort of blue-on-blue, which I think is totally unnecessary.
“Both candidates should just present their positive vision for our country.
“The most important thing is that in two weeks time…when we have a new prime minister, that we all as a parliamentary party get behind that new leader get behind that prime minister, and we continue to deliver for the British people.
“That’s what I want to see.”
Sunak has vowed to fight for every vote, despite Truss widely being seen as the frontrunner in the leadership race.
He previously described himself as “the underdog” in the race to be the next prime minister and played down polling suggesting he is set to be defeated by Truss.