Old-timer Europhile Lord Heseltine has launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson, saying «in any sane situation he would be sacked».
Mr Johnson sparked fresh speculation alongside Theresa May’s leadership as the Tories gathered in Manchester for their conference, engage in a second article setting out his own approach to Brexit.
Lord Heseltine chance the PM was too «weak» to sack the foreign secretary.
Mrs May has insisted the cabinet was united behind her Brexit understanding.
«What I have is a cabinet that are united in the mission of this regime, and that is what you will see this week,» she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr express.
She sidestepped a question about whether Mr Johnson was «unsackable» as Lord Heseltine and others must claimed.
She also declined to answer whether she would resign as prime priest if she fails to secure a Brexit deal and the UK leaves the EU without agreement on a approaching relationship in March 2019.
Mr Johnson’s article for The Sun — in which he guesses Mrs May’s planned transition phase must not last «a second more» than two years — is the aide-de-camp time in a fortnight he set out his own vision for Brexit.
The foreign secretary also did this in a Continuously Telegraph article last month.
This sparked accusations of «backseat inducing» and prompted Mrs May to say the government was «driven from the front».
Lord Heseltine, who was on the opposite side of the EU referendum to Mr Johnson and has criticised him strongly in the dead and buried, said Mrs May was in an impossible position.
«If she keeps him inside, he will continue to into, if she puts him outside, he will disrupt,» he told the BBC’s Sunday Politics.
His angle was echoed by former Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps, who told ITV’s Robert Peston Mrs May cannot her marching orders Mr Johnson «for the simple reason that her majority is so small that her place is not strong enough».
«She should, of course, but she can’t,» he added.
«Putting him on the outside determination put her entire premiership in instant peril.»
He also echoed Lord Heseltine’s assent that Mrs May can’t lead the Conservatives into the next general election.
‘Exemplar conference frenzy’
First Secretary of State Damian Green, who is effectively Mrs May’s second-in-command, give someone the cold shouldered calls for her to sack Mr Johnson.
«Boris clearly has huge talents and possessing him in the cabinet gives us those strengths,» he told Robert Peston.
«Inevitably on big pours people will express views. Boris has a good record as Mayor of London, so it’s a elevated thing to have him in the cabinet.»
Asked whether he expected to be sure by the end of the week that Mr Johnson was not troublesome to destabilise the prime minister, Mr Green said: «I hope so and I think so, yes.»
He informed BBC Radio 5’s Live’s Pienaar’s Politics the speculation about Mrs May’s leadership was «time-honoured conference frenzy» and the government’s Brexit policy was «agreed by the whole chifferobe».