Top Tories say attempt to appease hardliners means coalition of support for his leadership bid will not survive the autumn

Boris Johnson’s attempts to appease hardline Tory Brexiters will tilt the party into a “disastrous general election” that could be just months away, senior Conservatives are warning.

The runaway favourite to replace Theresa May is being told that the coalition of support set to deliver him Downing Street “won’t survive the autumn”, when he will have to decide whether to accept a deal with the EU or try to force a no-deal Brexit – a move likely to precipitate an election.

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