Grant Shapps failed to back Suella Braverman’s survival as Home Secretary for another week.
The Defence Secretary said “a week’s a long time in politics” when asked whether his Cabinet colleague will stay in her role until next weekend.
The Home Secretary has come under fire over an outspoken article branding pro-Palestine protesters “hate marchers” and accusing the Met Police of bias ahead of the Remembrance Day protest.
Rishi Sunak faces a dilemma over whether to sack Mrs Braverman, who is a darling of the right of the party, and risk fuelling a Tory civil war amid warnings from her allies not to fire her.
Asked about her political future, Mr Shapps told Sky News’ Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips programme: “As you know, and I know well, a week’s a long time in politics. I never make predictions about these things.”
Pressed on calls for her to be fired, he said: “The make-up of the Cabinet is entirely a matter for the Prime Minister. He will decide that in his own time.”
But he played down suggestions her comments had emboldened far-right protesters who caused trouble in London yesterday.
There have been calls from Labour, the Lib Dems and even some Tories for Mrs Braverman to be fired following her piece for The Times, which was not signed off by No 10.
But Tories on the right of the party have defended the embattled Home Secretary.
Red Wall MP Brendan Clarke-Smith said: “I’ve heard some daft takes, but to try and justify this appalling behaviour by blaming an op-ed in The Times, which simply stated the flaming obvious, is pathetic.”
Tory MP Danny Kruger, co-chair of the right-wing New Conservatives group, added: “You know what, with the benefit of hindsight, maybe it would have been best if the march today hadn’t been allowed to go ahead.”
There has been speculation the Prime Minister will carry out a reshuffle which could see her ousted, but the move is unlikely before Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Rwanda deportation policy which she has championed.
Former Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries this morning said Mrs Braverman should not be sacked.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, the close Boris Johnson ally said: “Should Suella be sacked? No, she shouldn’t, because actually the person who was responsible, as I said, is the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He needs to own the problems which are taking place as a result, supposedly, of her article in The Times.
“If No 10 did not take control of that, I think it points to a deeper problem in Downing Street at the moment, and that is a weakness, they don’t know what each other is doing, you know the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing, and an absolute weakness in the Prime Minister’s office.
“They can’t decide on a straight line that he’s going to put out, either over the protest or on what’s happening in Gaza, he can’t decide on a straight line.”