THERESA May lost two Tory vice-chairs within hours of her chairing her reshuffled cabinet, in a sign the party’s grassroots is stirring against her Chequers blueprint for Brexit.

MPs Maria Caulfield and Ben Bradley quit their roles for women and young people warning the proposal would antagonise voters and lead to Labour winning the next election.

Earlier, two of the cabinet’s leading Brexiters, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, boosted Mrs May by denying they would quit.

Mr Gove said he was sorry others had left the government, but he was “absolutely not” about to follow them and was “100 per cent” behind Mrs May.

However the later resignations underlined the Prime Minister’s continuing difficulties over selling her proposal for a soft Brexit to her party and the country.

The departures followed the first cabinet since the tumultuous resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson as her Brexit and foreign secretaries at the start of the week.

Mrs May paid tribute to their replacements, Dominic Raab and Jeremy Hunt, and to new cabinet secretaries Matt Hancock and Jeremy Wright, and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, with their colleagues welcoming them with the traditional banging on the cabinet table.

The meeting discussed the Brexit White Paper, which is due on Thursday, and will set out in detail the position agreed by the cabinet at Chequers last Friday.

Mr Davis quit saying it would give “too much away, too easily” to Europe, while Mr Johnson said it raised the white flag of surrender, and reduced the UK to a “colony” of Europe.

The meeting agreed to step up preparations for no deal being reached with the EU on the Chequers plan, with the new Brexit Secretary Mr Raab in charge of the work.

Mrs May said she was looking forward to today’s Nato summit in Brussels which will be attended by Donald Trump before he arrives for his UK visit tomorrow.

Mrs May’s presence means she will be spared Prime Minister’s Questions today, with cabinet office minister David Lidington deputising at the despatch box.

The Prime Minister tweeted after cabinet, which was held early to allow her to attend the RAF centenary service at Westminster Abbey, describing it as “productive”.

She also sent "best wishs" to the England side for tonight’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia.

However the light-hearted mood was punctured by Ms Caulfield and Mr Bradley, two of the nine vice-chairs Mrs May appointed in January, turning their backs on her Brexit policy.

Ms Caulfield, the MP for Lewes, said Mrs May’s plan might “assuage vested interests, but the voters will find out and their representatives will be found out".

She wrote: “This policy will be bad for our country and bad for the party. The direct consequences of that will be Prime Minister Corbyn.”

She said both Leave and Remain constituents had also told her they opposed the plan.

Mr Bradley, a Remain voter whose Mansfield seat voted 71 per cent for Leave, said he could not sincerely defend the proposal to his electorate.

“Being tied to EU regulations, and the EU tying our hands when seeking to make new trade agreements will be the worst of all worlds,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

“If we do not deliver Brexit in spirit as well as in name, then we are handing Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Number 10.”

The common complaints added to speculation that Brexiter MPs are orchestrating a daily drip of resignations to force Mrs May to rewrite her proposal.

Tory chairman Brandon Lewis said both MPs had worked hard to promote women and young people on behalf of the party, and he wished them well on the backbenches.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said he would “relish” another general election if the PM’s proposals failed to protect Scotland’s interests and there was a snap election.

“I believe the SNP would come out of that in a strengthened position,” he said.

Labour MP Owen Smith, who backs a second EU referendum, added: “David Davis and the other resigning Tories are just the first of the rats to quit the sinking Brexit ship.

“They lied to the country about the benefits of Brexit and they are now running away from any responsibility for the harm it is set to do our economy.”