Conservative Party members have expressed outrage at a former Tory MP's suggestion the Government should nationalise troubled firm Carillion.

Ben Howlett, the former Conservative MP for Bath, tweeted: 'Recipe for recession would for be for Carillion to go under- Vince Cable is bonkers to suggest Government should do nothing. Given low interest rates- may be a good idea to buy it to ensure delivery of projects.'

The news comes as the Prime Minister refused to bail out the construction firm in the face of accusations of collusion from Labour.

Thomas Havemann-Mart, a Mid Worcestershire Conservative Association activist, said: "I just don't believe the Conservatives, the same party as Thatcher, should take a failing company into public ownership.

This is not the answer.

"If the gamble fails, the MPs won't pay, taxpayers will"

"Any projects that need finishing, as Ben mentions, if viable, will be finished by other companies. That's the way of the market and what I thought we believed in as Conservatives. If it's not viable, why the hell should taxpayers shoulder the liability? If the gamble fails, the MPs won't pay, taxpayers will.

"This, as well as most noise from the Conservative Party lately, seems like a desperate attempt to steal Jeremy Corbyn's robes."

The Guardian reported that Carillion has started to issue redundancies due to pressure from the banks to repay subcontractors. Liquidators PricewaterhouseCoopers said it will not pay any liquidation bills of up to £900 million on Monday.

The Government is ordering the Insolvency Service to fast-track an investigation into the conduct of Carillion directors and the firm's auditors, KPMG. Last March, the accountancy firm gave them a clear bill.

Accountancy companies PwC and EY refused to act as the construction firm's administrators, because they feared the £29 million left when Carillion collapsed would not be sufficient enough to pay them.

Ministers have stressed there will be no extra cost to the taxpayer stemming from Carillion's collapse.

Mr. Howlett's tweet comes into direct conflict with the Government's position.

"I don't think throwing money at something that is clearly failing is the answer"

Conservative activist David Baker said: "I respect Ben Howlett and his position, but I don't think stepping in for what would be an unpopular bailout is not the answer.

Carillion obviously has serious issues with management, finances or structure, but I don't think throwing money at something that is clearly failing is the answer, regardless of how low interest rates are."

Essex Tory Cameron Winstanley said nationalising the construction firm would send the wrong signals to other private companies. He said the Pension Protection Fund is managing the firm's £600 million deficit.

He added: "The Government should use this to accept that the cost of HS2 has spiralled out of control. They should scale it back and look into HS2 becoming HS3."

"I believe some form of intervention is important"

North Warwickshire Conservative activist Kyle Evans said: "I have always believed in free market economics.

However, on some occasions, government intervention is necessary. The company in question plays a crucial role in delivering the Government's infrastructure agenda, whilst playing an important role in delivering projects within the Ministry of Defence. As such, I believe some form of intervention is important.

"Questions do need to be asked, however, on why the Department for Transport signed off a HS2 contract if the Government was under the impression the company was about to go bust."

Mr. Howlett and Carillion were both approached for comment by Blasting News, but declined to do so.

Ben Howlett was selected as the Conservative candidate for the Bath constituency in November 2013. He won the seat from the Liberal Democrats in the 2015 General Election, but lost it during last year's vote.

He is now a Director at Public Policy Projects.