Michael Gove has joined the race to be the next Tory leader saying he does not believe Boris Johnson can “provide the leadership” for the task ahead.
The former education secretary, who had repeatedly said he had no leadership ambitions, dropped the surprise just hours before the nominations deadline on Thursday.
The declaration is a devastating blow for Mr Johnson, who was expected to stand with the backing of the Justice Secretary.
The pair campaigned side by side during the EU referendum campaign to secure the shock Brexit victory.
But Mr Gove said events since last week had “weighed heavily with me” and led him to change his mind.