One of Kent's MPs has slammed a "disgraceful" report that accused him of plotting to oust Boris Johnson from power.
Ashford's representative Damian Green has been forced to deny accusations that he is leading efforts to dethrone the Prime Minister.
Mr Green's statement came after an article in the i newspaper cited two sources naming him as "among those leading efforts to coordinate moves against Mr Johnson".
Speaking to KentOnline, he described the front page piece by the paper's deputy political editor Arj Singh as "a disgraceful piece of journalism".
"It is absolutely untrue, and there was absolutely no attempt on behalf of the reporter to phone me to verify the claims, or even offer a chance to deny them," he added.
"I am absolutely shocked by the level of journalism and there is absolutely no truth in them whatsoever."
The 66-year-old former cabinet minister's statement comes as rumours around the Prime Minister's vulnerability intensify.
Fellow Kent Tory Tom Tugendhat is among the favourite to be next prime minister, while it has been suggested that the impending 'Partygate' report from Sue Gray could be so critical of Mr Johnson that it could end his premiership.
According to the i newspaper article, a number of conservatives are said to have drafted letters of no confidence ready to be sent the day after the local elections in May if the party performs poorly.
Ms Gray, a senior civil servant, was forced to delay the publication of her investigation into alleged parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall during England’s coronavirus lockdowns due to the Metropolitan Police commencing their own inquiry.
In an interim report published in January, the Cabinet Office official said there had been “failures of leadership and judgment” in No 10 over the so-called partygate saga.
The Times, citing an official it described as being familiar with the contents of the complete report, said Ms Gray’s full findings were even more personally critical of the Prime Minister and could end his premiership.
According to the paper, the official said: “Sue’s report is excoriating. It will make things incredibly difficult for the Prime Minister.
“There’s an immense amount of pressure on her — her report could be enough to end him.”