A Tory MP has ridiculed David Cameron's leadership of the Government, calling him a “chambermaid” for the Conservatives' coalition partners.
In a strongly worded attack, Brian Binley accused the Prime Minister of failing to assert himself when faced with Liberal Democrat policy demands.
With a Cabinet reshuffle expected within weeks, Mr Binley said what the Government actually needed was a major change of direction.
In a post on his website, Mr Binley wrote: "What the country, the Conservative party and the captain of the ship needs now is not so much a reshuffle as a rethink.
"The polls tell a consistent story and point to one inevitable conclusion.
"Rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic will do nothing to alter the impression that the ship has lost its way.
"It's a change in direction which is needed and wanted."
He said Mr Cameron needed to change his relationship with the Lib Dems and also build bridges with disaffected Conservatives.
The Lib Dems had "run ragged over the Government" and Mr Cameron needed to show he was the "leading partner".
Mr Binley said: "Allowing the Lib Dems to have their way in a hopeless effort to avert yet another puerile tantrum, whilst at the same time ignoring the pressing needs of an economy struggling to raise itself from base camp, does nothing to engender good will from those who pay the price."
He criticised Mr Cameron for agreeing to the "self-indulgent lunacy" of the Lib Dems.
"Why did he not put his foot down and assert his position, firstly, as Prime Minister, and secondly, as leader of the Conservative party?
"What are his true priorities?
"It seems that appeasing the childish tit-for-tat approach to politics that is the entire Liberal Democrat mindset has dominated his thoughts for far too long.
"The country needs a full-time Prime Minister and not a chambermaid for a marginal, irrelevant pressure group who have got him in a virtual arm-lock with a constant stream of threats to abandon ship."
Mr Binley, treasurer of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, said the Prime Minister should repair the damage in his relationship with the party's grassroots.
"It's time to stop treating his backbenches and his party as an unnecessary inconvenience, and demonstrate a genuine willingness to engage in a grown-up conversation," he said.
"On Europe, on gay marriage and on Lords' reform, the Prime Minister has chosen to set himself against the instincts of his party and he has consistently failed to listen."
In a swipe at Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, who is on the liberal wing of the Conservative Party, Mr Binley said it was wrong to believe that the Tory "brand" would be damaged by a return to traditional principles.
Instead, he said, "it is the Government itself that is creating toxicity through grubby politicking and a wilful disregard for the party's traditional values".
Northampton South MP Mr Binley's intervention follows the criticism of Mr Cameron from senior Conservative Tim Yeo, who questioned the Prime Minister's political courage over the issue of a third runway at Heathrow, asking if the Tory leader was "man or mouse".
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