BOURNEMOUTH East MP Tobias Ellwood has said he will not stand to be the next Conservative leader – and called on colleagues not to treat the event as a “TV reality show”.

The defence minister’s recent high profile has led to speculation that he could run for the leadership, while other possible candidates were said to be keen to win his support.

But Mr Ellwood said the party’s focus should be on the Brexit situation.

“We might be enjoying a economy with record employment and the best green credentials in the G20 – but until we break the Brexit paralysis our efforts will not resonate with the electorate,” said Mr Ellwood, 52.

“And until we honour the referendum result we cannot shape a fresh exciting, progressive post-Brexit vision under a new leader.

“The PM will soon stand down and that process will begin. Until then we should focus on the challenge at hand – not treat the highest political office in the land like a tv reality show with so many colleagues simply attempting to raise profiles.

“I have neither the experience nor the rank to stand for leader.”