BOURNEMOUTH West MP Conor Burns has voiced his support for his boss Boris Johnson, after remarks which led to accusations that the foreign secretary was a “backseat driver”.

Mr Burns – who is the minister’s parliamentary private secretary and supported his brief run for the Tory leadership last year – said Mr Johnson was engaged on “the great task of cheering us all up”.

He wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “Like so many of us who campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union last year, he doesn’t just respect the referendum result; he welcomes and embraces it. We see in it the potential for positive change for our country.”

He went on: “Boris doesn’t simply believe that we must make a success of Brexit, as though it were some ghastly hand we were dealt that we must struggle to mitigate. He thinks we can and will make a success of Brexit because of the country and people we are. The over-puffed Project Fear predictions of soaring unemployment, apocalypse budgets and inward investment drying to a trickle have proved as unfounded as many of us argued at the time.”

However, Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood tweeted on Sunday to say said: "PARTY DISCORD: Think many would agree: We are not witnessing our finest hour-at a testing time when poise, purpose and unity are called for."

Mr Johnson had written a 4,000-word article in which he said Britain should make no payments for access to the European single market after Brexit. He also repeated the claim that £350million a week could be freed for spending on the NHS after Brexit.

Mr Johnson was accused by Sir David Norgrove, the head of the UK Statistics Authority, of “misusing” official figures.

Home secretary Amber Rudd claimed Mr Johnson was being a “backseat driver”, while Theresa May said yesterday that the government was “driven from the front and we are all going to the same destination”.