Jeremy Hunt is reportedly holding secret breakfast meetings with ministers to woo MPs to back him to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.
A senior Tory figure has told The Sun that Hunt has been asking senior ministers what jobs they want in his Cabinet in exchange for their backing in secret morning meetings.
Despite Savid Javid being widely tipped to become the next PM troubles over knife crime and illegal migrants in the Channel could hand the keys to number 10 to the Foreign Office chief, who has been credited for adapting his pitch to suit the MP he wants onside.
The Cabinet source said: “He tells Remainers he wants to achieve compromise.
“But when he courts the Brexiteers, he gives them a very clear narrative that he is only person who can deliver Brexit because of his reach across the party.
“He and Sajid are really going for it, so they obviously think it’s getting close”.
Another senior minister added: “The feeling among colleagues is we need a Brexiteer next, but Jeremy has had a bit of a useful conversion to the cause so he’ll probably carry the broadest support”.
Mr Hunt is also attempting to charm Eurosceptic hardliners, holding quiet meetings with senior members of their European Research Group.
Aside from Javid, Hunt could also face competition from ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, David Davis and, of course, Boris Johnson.