LONDON - Rory Stewart lashed out at Boris Johnson for not having a 'plan' on Brexit today after making a shock surge into second place in the Tory leadership betting.
The International Development Secretary launched a withering attack on the front runner after bookmakers had him leapfrogging Jeremy Hunt as the closest challenger.
The criticism came at a hustings event with journalists in Westminster - which Mr Johnson has opted to snub as his 'submarine' strategy continues.
Mr Hunt also taunted the favourite this morning, saying he needed to find some 'Churchillian courage'.
Mr Stewart has won more backers overnight after putting in a strong performance in the Channel 4 TV debate, with minister Margot James and Scottish Tory Paul Masterson declaring their support.
But he again flip-flopped today over whether he would serve in a Mr Johnson Cabinet, telling Good Morning Britain he '100 per cent' would not.
Only last Friday he had said he would be 'honoured to serve if, as expected, Mr Johnson is voted Tory leader and prime minister by Tory members next month.
At the hustings in Parliament today, Mr Stewart was asked about Mr Johnson and said: 'he doesn't, as far as I can see, have a plan.'
Mr Stewart highlighted that Mr Johnson had been wooing moderates like Matt Hancock - who today backed him for the leadership - as well as hardliners like Mark Francois.
'He seems to be having different relationships in different rooms with people who are not talking to each other,' Mr Stewart said.
The Cabinet minister said he hoped he could win more Tories over to support Theresa May's divorce deal from the EU. But he admitted Labour MPs for Brexit-backing areas, such as Lisa Nandy, would also be needed.
'I have to reach out to Lisa Nandy from Wigan,' he said.
But Mr Stewart also admitted he still 'does not know' if he can secure the 33 votes from MPs needed to make it through the next ballot tomorrow. He only had 19 backers in the first round last Tuesday.
Sajid Javid delivered an extraordinary rebuke to Donald Trump today for meddling over UK crime rates.
The US president has condemned London mayor Sadiq Khan for failing to deal with knife crime.
But speaking at Tory leader hustings today, the Home Secretary said: 'President Trump should stick to domestic politics.
'It's unbecoming of the leader of a great state to interfere in other countries' politics.'
He added: 'The president of the United States is right to be concerned about serious violence but he should be concerned about serious violence in the United States which is ten times higher than it is here.'
Mr Javid has voiced unhappiness at being snubbed from Mr Trump's state banquet during his visit to the UK earlier this month - although Downing Street is adamant the US president had no role in the decision to leave him off the invite list.
Earlier, Mr Stewart said his principles over No Deal Brexit - which he has ruled out backing if he becomes prime minister - would stop him from working for a leader who advocated it.
'In order to be Boris's foreign secretary or international development secretary, I would have to sit on your programme and advocate for a no deal Brexit that I think can't be delivered, is going to lead to delay...' he told GMB.
He was later challenged by Susanna Reid over the fact that he backed Remain in 2016 and then agreed to respect the referendum result to deliver Brexit, with the presenter asking whether a Boris Johnson win would give him a mandate for a No Deal Brexit.
Mr Stewart replied: 'There are two votes that I really deeply respect. I respect the result of a referendum, I respect the result of a general election.
'I'm a loyal Conservative, so I'm not going to bring down a Boris Johnson Government, but I cannot serve in a cabinet and advocate for something I don't believe in.'
Mr Stewart is now 12/1 with Betfair and 10/1 with Ladbrokes.
While he is in second he is a long way behind Mr Johnson, who is the odds-on favourite.
The former foreign secretary is also miles ahead in polling of Conservative members who will ultimately decide the new party leader.
Tory MPs while whittle the candidates down to a final two who will then face a vote of the wider party. Three have been knocked out already and Mr Hancock stepped down before the second round ballot.
The battle for the keys to No10 is turning nasty as contenders desperately struggle to overhaul Mr Johnson's commanding lead.
They are scrambling to pick up votes from those already eliminated - with Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who had 20 supporters, making a surprise decision to back Mr Johnson.(FA)