Mr Steerpike understands that only fourteen Tory MPs have written to Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbenchers 1922 committee, asking for a leadership contest to oust David Cameron. Although the names officially remain a secret, fourteen is the number that the PM’s enemies believe that they have secured so far.

Our Prime Minister can breath a sigh of relief, for now. Thirty two more names are needed for any kind of trouble, as Matthew d’Ancona explained in yesterday’s Evening Standard:

‘Under the system introduced by William Hague in 1998, the incumbent leader faces a vote of no confidence triggered by letters from 15 per cent of the parliamentary party (in this case, 46 Tory MPs).’

The fact that only 4.5 per cent of young Dave’s 306 MPs are willing to put their money where their mouth is certainly places all the recent leadership speculation in some context.

Tags: 1922 Committee, David Cameron, gossip