National MPs are speaking out against their leader and Newshub has been told of agitation behind the scenes.
The National Party Caucus is now proactively coming to Newshub with concerns about Simon Bridges' leadership, and Newshub has been told people are doing the numbers for Judith Collins.
There are mixed views, but a number of MPs have told Newshub that Bridges' handling of recent problems hasn't been up to scratch, with one MP even describing it as "incompetent".
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They're pointing to:
- Bridges' treatment of the so-called emotional junior staffer who took down a controversial UN Migration Compact petition after the Christchurch terror attack;
- Bridges' handling of the Jami-Lee Ross saga;
- and Bridges' lack of popularity.
National MPs are also leaking - big time. Just minutes after a caucus conference call on Monday, Newshub was leaked details about the meeting.
As for any signs of a coup, on Tuesday MPs anonymously told Newshub: "It's happening."
One MP said: "For some time, MPs have been concerned about the direction of the leadership."
Another described the caucus as "unsettled", while another said "numbers are firming for Judith".
But others say Bridges is safe - for now - and that Collins doesn't have the numbers to roll him.
Those are damning quotes from MPs, but it doesn't necessarily mean Bridges will face a challenge at a caucus meeting.
Newshub has been told if it does happen, it could move quickly or in the next three to four months.
Newshub has also been told it could happen at caucus, or it could just be executed by a group of MPs behind closed doors.