By politics.co.uk staff
There are growing signs of rebellion against David Cameron's rule within the Conservative party after he failed to secure a majority at the general election.
The Observer reports that Lord Ashcroft, the party's deputy chairman and a major donor, is 'furious' with his leader.
The paper says he is angry that Mr Cameron agreed to take part in television debates and also over what he sees as a lack of support from the Tory leader over the row about his 'non-com' tax status.
And another Conservative frontbencher demanded the sacking of key figures, including shadow chancellor George Osborne. The frontbencher told the paper: "He ran his campaign from the back of his Jaguar with a smug, smarmy little clique - people like Osborne, [Oliver] Letwin and Michael Gove. He should get rid of all of them. The party will settle for nothing less."
Another senior MP told the paper that the party's 'big society' idea did not work during the campaign: "We couldn't sell that stuff on the doorstep. It was pathetic. All we needed was a simple message on policy. We could have won a majority if we had not had to try to sell this nonsense."
Backbench Tory MPs will convene at a meeting of the 1922 Committee tomorrow to discuss a possible coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
With the possibility of a second election being held within months, it is the fall-out between Mr Cameron and Lord Ashcroft which may be more damaging for the Conservatives.
The billionaire said on Friday morning he believed the debates, which Mr Cameron had pushed for, had damaged the Tories: "I think from the time the Conservatives were ahead, we then had the debates, which has quite obviously turned everything topsy-turvy and what were natural assumptions before those debates changed the whole of the playing field.
"This is the type of result we are now seeing as a consequence of those debates."