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Media captionDavid Lidington MP: “Too much sun and warm prosecco leads to gossipy stories in the media”

Justice Secretary David Lidington has dismissed speculation about Theresa May’s future as the product of “too much sun and too much warm prosecco”.

He said summer drinks parties produced “gossipy stories” and the public wanted the PM to get on with her job.

Stories have suggested the PM is under pressure to name a departure date after losing her Commons majority.

There are also reports Tory MPs are unhappy with the deal Mrs May did with the DUP to prop up her government.

Mr Lidington, who was promoted to the job of justice secretary by Mrs May in her post-election reshuffle, described stories about Mrs May’s leadership as “gossip”.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I have been in Parliament 25 years and almost every July a combination of too much sun and too much warm prosecco leads to gossipy stories in the media.

“But the key thing is this – the public’s had an election and I think they want politicians to go away and deal with the real problems this country is facing”.

Former Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell has, meanwhile, sought to play down comments about Mrs May, reported in the Mail on Sunday.

He reportedly told a private dinner for Tory MPs that Mrs May was dead in the water and should go.

A Conservative MP present at the gathering told the paper: “He said she was weak, had lost her authority, couldn’t go on and we needed a new leader.

“Some of us were very surprised and disagreed with him.”

Mr Mitchell, who was described as a key ally of Brexit Secretary David Davis, one of those being tipped as a future Tory leader, said the Mail story was “an overheated report of a private dinner conversation”.

Mr Mitchell is alleged to have made the comments at a dinner on 26 June, the day Mrs May struck a deal with the DUP to prop up her minority government.

He did not mention Mr Davis in his comments at the One Nation Commons dining club of Tory MPs, of which he is the secretary, the newspaper added.

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