Boris Johnson could be back in No 10 by next Christmas, Nadine Dorries has predicted.
The former culture secretary warned Rishi Sunak that disastrous poll ratings could see him ousted and his predecessor installed in his place.
“I think there is a chance if the polls keep sliding by this time next year we will see Boris Johnson back in Downing Street,” she said.
Mr Johnson was forced out of the top job by his own MPs after a series of scandals, including Partygate.
But Ms Dorries, a key ally, suggested that Conservative politicians could again rally around their former leader, to save their own skins.
“Many of the people who were anti-Boris realise they are nothing without their seat (in the House of Commons),” she said.
And she warned that life post politics would prove very difficult for the dozens of Tory MPs set to lose their jobs at the next general election.
“They have no voice, no one is interested in what they will have to say, not even down at the job centre,” she said.
Mr Johnson was finally forced to resign after months of criticism over the Partygate scandal, which even saw claims at one point that he had been “ambushed by a cake”.
But he attempted a comeback just weeks later when his successor Liz Truss announced she was resigning after 44 days in the post.
He flew home from holiday to mount a campaign, but withdrew after it emerged that Mr Sunak had the support of more MPs.
However, he did not rule out another tilt at the job, saying “this is simply not the right time”.
And he still faces a Commons privileges investigation into claims he misled MPs over Partygate.
But some have warned Mr Sunak will face questions over his political future in May after the local elections, the first time voters will be able to give their verdict on the party since the turmoil.
But in the interview, Ms Dorries said: “It will take a little bit longer than that”. “I think the local elections in May are going to be absolutely difficult for us but Rishi won’t walk,” she told the Express.
Mr Dorries is expected to be awarded a peerage as part of Mr Johnson’s resignation honours list.