Theresa May is now so unpopular with swathes of her own party that some Tory members won’t mention her by name on the doorstep or have ruled out campaigning altogether, it has emerged.

The Prime Minister has become synonymous with “betrayal” over Brexit in voters’ minds, leading some activists to try to focus on local issues, rather the Government’s main goal.

Tory HQ has even registered a name variation with the Electoral Commission that allows the candidates to appear on ballot papers as “Local Conservatives”, downplaying any link with the PM.

Professor Sir John Curtice of Strathclyde University said Mrs May’s failure to deliver Brexit was doing “serious damage” to her party’s electoral prospects, with a flood of Leave voters switching to Ukip and, above all, Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

Writing in the Telegraph, Sir John said the European elections could be a “perfect storm” of protests for the Tories, noting the party’s support had fallen a dramatic 14 points since Mrs May unveiled her Brexit deal in November.

More than 8000 seats are being contested in English local elections on May 2, most of them currently Tory held.

The potential extension of Brexit until October 31 also means the UK must take part in EU elections on May 23, unless MPs can agree a Brexit deal by then.

With no sign of a breakthrough in talks between the Government and Labour, or consensus in the Commons, all parties are now campaigning on the assumption the poll goes ahead.

However some associations have refused to campaign for their own party, including the Derbyshire Conservatives, who “overwhelmingly” voted not to support their own party in the EU poll.

The Brighton and Hove local Conservative Association banned discussion of Brexit as it is so divisive.

Mrs May’s unpopularity threatens to disrupt Ruth Davidson’s imminent return to frontline politics after a six-month maternity break.

The Scottish Tory leader backed Mrs May for the Tory leadership in 2016.

“I can say without hesitation that I believe Theresa May is best placed to navigate the stormy waters ahead,” Ms Davidson said at the time.

Ms Davidson is due to return to the public eye at her party conference in Aberdeen on May 3, but the event will be dominated by the overnight results from the English council elections, especially if Mrs May is a speaker.

Ed Costelloe, chairman of Grassroots Conservatives, said of the English fight: “Campaigners and candidates are only talking about what’s happening at a local level, because the frustration they are hearing about what’s going on at a national level is virtually universal.

“Most of the people out there canvassing have a lot of experience and they are saying this is worse than anything they have experienced before.”

The Scottish Tories announced their European candidates yesterday. Incumbent MEP Baroness Nosheena Mobarik tops the six-person Scotlandwide list followed by perennial hopeful Iain McGill and Scottish Borders councillor Shona Haslam.

Iain Whyte, the Tory group leader on Edinburgh City Council, Andrea Gee, who works for East Renfrewshire MP Paul Masterton, and Aberdeen solicitor Michael Kusznir make up the bottom half of the slate.

The SNP also announced its shortlist of six candidates, who will now be ranked in the coming days by delegates to this month’s conference.

Sitting MEP Alyn Smith, former MSP Christian Allard and Glasgow activist Alex Kerr are one half of the genderbalanced list. Former minister Aileen McLeod, former MP Margaret Ferrier, and Borders Councillor Heather Anderson make up the other.

Scottish Labour and the Scottish LibDems have already announced their candidates, and the Scottish Greens are due to name theirs on Thursday. David Coburn, who won a Scottish seat for Ukip in 2014, last night refused to say if he was standing for the Brexit Party. Like most of its MEPs, he recently left Ukip over its drift to the far right.