Colourful backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg has topped a survey of Conservative supporters as the best candidate to become the next party leader.
Some 23% of ConservativeHome readers backed the Tory, often known as “the MP for the 18th century” over his old-fashioned ways, to replace Theresa May.
Brexit Secretary David Davis was supported by 15% of those who voted, but 19% ticked the “other” box in the 1,309-strong vote.
Chancellor Philip Hammond won just 3% of votes, while 7% went to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Mr Rees-Mogg has enjoyed a growing media profile in recent months and has been touted as a right-wing antidote to the increasing popularity of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The “young fogey” emerged as second favourite in a conservativehome survey in August after supporters wrote him into the “other” candidate section.
But the North East Somerset MP has previously played down suggestions he is considering a bid for the Conservative leadership, saying he expected his “hat would be thrown back at me pretty quickly” if he threw it into the ring.
The Prime Minister last week insisted she is “not a quitter” and vowed to lead the Conservatives into the next general election.
But the decision sparked warnings that she would fuel moves to oust her before 2022.
When asked if he believes the PM will fight the next election, Damian Green, Mrs May’s de facto deputy, replied: “Yes.”
In an interview with the Politico website, he said: “Theresa is doing what is a very difficult job extremely well, and I would like to see her continue to do this for many years.”
International Trade minister Greg Hands said there was “all to play for”, including the Tory leadership, between Brexit and the general election.
He told the Herald: “A lot can happen in five years, and we’ll see what the situation is in 2022. But at the moment I’ve got complete confidence in the Prime Minister.”