A number of serving, former and shadow cabinet ministers contacted Chapman after he posted a series of provocative tweets this week, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
He said: “Two people in the cabinet, a number of people who have been in Conservative cabinets before now – better cabinets, I might say, than the current one – and a number of shadow cabinets ministers have also been in touch.
“They are not saying they are going to quit their parties, but they are saying they understand that there is an enormous gap in the centre now of British politics.”
Chapman, a former political editor of the Daily Mail who works for the PR firm Bell Pottinger, said the Conservative brand had been so tarnished by Brexit that it would never win a working majority again.
He said Labour and the Conservatives had been taken over by extremists. Appearing alongside the Tory MP and leading Brexiter Jacob Rees-Mogg, Chapman said: “The two main parties have been captured by their fringes, and Jacob is a member of that fringe and he has captured my party and I don’t any longer want to be a part of it.
“The hard Brexit plan that [Theresa] May is pursuing is going to take our economy off a cliff, is going to make Black Wednesday look like a picnic, and when that happens the Conservative party will never be in power again.”
He pointed out that 60% of the Tory parliamentary party backed remain in the EU referendum.
He also denied that his former boss George Osborne was involved in a campaign to form a new party, despite the former chancellor’s trenchant editorials against Brexit and May that he publishes as editor of Evening Standard.
Asked if Osborne was behind the move, Chapman said: “Not at all. I haven’t spoken to George about this. I think he is having a great deal of fun editing the Evening Standard.”
Rees-Mogg said despite the proposed name for the party, what Chapman was suggesting was anti-democratic.
He said: “Most people in the higher levels of the party, and across the Conservative party in the nation, have accepted the democratic result of the referendum a year ago.
“What’s so peculiar about this new party is that it wants to call itself the Democrats and the first thing it wishes to do is to overturn a democratic decision. Their proposed name ought to be the Oligarchs rather than the Democrats.
“The Lib Dems campaigned on a proposal [in effect] to reverse the referendum and the electorate blew a raspberry at them.”
This article was written by Matthew Weaver, for theguardian.com on Friday 11th August 2017 09.04 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010