The Conservatives' ongoing difficulties over Europe have taken a new twist with calls for them to form a pact with the UK Independence Party.
Tory vice chairman Michael Fabricant said the two parties should consider their similarities.
Mr Fabricant suggested that David Cameron make an election pact with UKIP and offer its leader Nigel Farage a job in Government.
The proposal would mean UKIP would agree not to field candidates against Conservative MPs in exchange for an in/out European Union referendum early in the next Parliament, and a prominent role for Farage.
He formulated the plan after his analysis suggested up to 15 per cent of Conservative voters may vote for UKIP.
This suggestion was lent support by a new poll carried by ComRes for The Independent suggesting that 61% of Conservative supporters want Britain to leave the European Union provided it could maintain its close trading links.
He admitted no discussions have yet taken place with UKIP over a potential election pact.
He says that any agreement could not take place for "a good 24 months".
But David Cameron and Nigel Farage said no deal could be done.
ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports:
According to Political Correspondent Libby Wiener, it appears as if the former whip's call for a pact did not go down at all well with the PM.
Asked exactly what his job as Tory Party vice-chairman entailed, a Downing Street source said he "organised by-elections."
Moments later he clarified that saying Mr Fabricant's role was to "help out" at by-elections.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also rejected the call, declaring that voters have "had enough" of pacts and coalitions.
Mr Farage insisted the UK Independence Party would not be "bought off" by the offer of a ministerial job, declaring his party was "at war" with the Conservatives: