Jacob Rees-Mogg has called on Conservative Party leadership hopefuls to “think very carefully" about whether they have a serious chance of winning.
He told talkRADIO’s James Whale that the number of candidates to replace Theresa May was “getting out of control.”
“I think if you only get a couple of votes, your vote and that of your best friend, it doesn’t look very strong. And with so many candidates some of them will not do at all well," he said.
"People standing who have virtually no chance are not contributing to the good of the nation.”
The North East Somerset MP said previous leadership battles are to blame for so many MPs throwing their hat in the ring.
“People look back at previous leadership elections and see that the underdog has often won.
“They think well I’m an underdog I don’t have any support, and therefore perhaps maybe this time it will be me.”
He continued: “What I think they forget is that when David Cameron won for example, he had the support of Michael Howard the then leader of the party."
Mr Rees-Mogg has openly backed Boris Johnson for leader, and doubts a pro-European candidate could claim victory.
“If you take the whole process of leadership, the person who is the most pro-European is ultimately the least likely to win.”
He’s ruled out abandoning the Conservative Party to join the Brexit Party during what he dubbed a “constitutional crisis”, and remained hopeful voters will return to the Tories.
“It seems to me that the Conservative Party will not be re-elected if can’t win back the 67 per cent of its former voters who went off to the Brexit Party in last week’s vote.
“If we deliver Brexit then the Brexit Party will have succeeded, and they’ll be able to come back to the Conservative Party.”
Mark Harper became the twelfth candidate to announce his leadership bid today.
Nominations close on June 7.