Almost from the moment the general election result became apparent late on June 8, and with even greater force more recently, some senior Tory MPs have stated or implied that they consider Theresa May finished as prime minister.
In recent weeks some cabinet ministers have been openly jockeying for position. There has been in some cases almost open insubordination, with different ministers saying different things about Brexit and about crucial matters of policy such as the public sector pay cap.
This is on one level understandable: Mrs May is badly, perhaps fatally wounded, after her failure to get an overall majority and other leading Conservative politicians see a coming vacancy at Downing Street. But it is, even so, reprehensible.
Any politician who begins to say and do their own thing or who seems to undermine the prime minister should be blackballed by Tory MPs as a future leader.
It is inevitable in circumstances as extraordinary as those that have unfolded since the election that there will be unease about Mrs May’s leadership and her prospects and her ability to command respect and authority.
But those politicians who want this government to survive would be wise to keep such feelings and conversations private. When leading Tories openly express or hint at such doubts then the government as a whole is gravely damaged, and Jeremy Corbyn advances closer in his bid to be premier.
It is entirely possible that splits within the Conservative Party will lead to the government narrowly losing a key vote that precipitates another election.
Mr Corbyn was only 2% behind Mrs May in June, and now the polls have him ahead.
If the country votes Mr Corbyn into Downing Street, so be it – that is the nature of democracy.
But it would be a peculiar state of affairs if Tory infighting and disloyalty brought about that outcome.