He also made an apparent dig at his leadership rivals: «The good thing about my job is I have so much to do I don’t need to be posing in kitchens,» he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
He also said preparations for a no-deal Brexit will have to be stepped up if Theresa May’s deal is defeated next month. «If Parliament won’t back a deal… I do think we need to bring forward our preparations to mitigate no deal,» he said.
His comments were at odds with Rory Stewart, his Cabinet colleague, who told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that if he gets the keys to No 10, he will «legislate» to take both no deal and another referendum «off the table».
On Monday Sajid Javid, another leadership contender, will give a speech setting out the UK’s role in countering terrorism and sets out recently introduced powers allowing the Home Secretary to ban Britons from travelling to or remaining in specific designated areas.
Would-be Tory leaders have been warned the race to replace May is «not a reality TV contest», however.
Tobias Ellwood, the defence minister, said: «We seem to be clambering over each other — in many cases to heighten profiles. Some of the photo shoots we are seeing have raised eyebrows and are making us look very self indulgent. This is the highest office in the land. We must respect it.
«The party’s competence has taken a hit. We’re being judged. We will have a proper leadership contest, the Prime Minister has ensured that. That’s where we should be crafting exciting policies that inspire and attract more people to the party.»
On Tuesday Philip Hammond will warn leadership candidates against populism and the ideology of «easy answers». In a speech to businesses at the CBI’s annual dinner, the Chancellor is expected to say candidates must have an «optimistic vision but one grounded in reality», and should not try to «out-radicalise» Jeremy Corbyn.
Hammond will remind MPs about the «ideas that anchored the party» including prudent economic policy, saying: «The Conservative Party can’t just be about Brexit».
He will also caution against a «spending spree» — a warning to candidates, including Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab, who have promised increases in spending and income tax cuts.
Ellwood, who supported Remain, told Sky TV: «Some colleagues are changing their views in order to woo our membership to raise their profile as well. This is getting things in the wrong order.
«We need to be the party that delivers Brexit, not the Brexit party,» he said later. «Unfortunately it overshadows everything.»