Penny Mordaunt has proved popular among young Conservative members, with polling revealing her and Steve Baker as early favourites.
A survey conducted by the Young Conservatives Network on behalf of the i, demonstrated the two received the most support from younger activists.
Ms Mordaunt was a narrow favourite, with 16.2 percent of the 172 respondents selecting her.
Penny Mordaunt is a favourite potential candidate for Prime Minister UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor
Ms Mordaunt rose to the public eye in 2019, after she was appointed as the UK's first female Defence Secretary before being dismissed by Mr Johnson shortly after becoming PM.
She took a position in Government in a 2020 Cabinet reshuffle, joining the Cabinet Office as Paymaster General.
In 2021, Ms Mordaunt was appointment as Minister of State for Trade Policy in 2021, and is currently the only female MP who is a Royal Navy Reservist.
She played a prominent role in the Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum, and has previously reportedly enjoyed the backing of Dame Andrea Leadsom among others.
She remains among the early favourites, and second only to Mr Wallace in the latest YouGov poll.
Despite not officially announcing a campaign for Conservative leadership, the former Secretary of State has sparked hopes among young members of the Tory party.
Nicola Richards, one of the Tory party’s youngest MPs, said: “This is not a surprise, Penny creates and amplifies hope. Hope is what young people need. That they can own a home, achieve their dreams, make the world a better place. If she runs I will back her.”
The former Minister for State is anticipated to launch a campaign in the coming days Aaron Chown
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace followed swiftly behind in fourth and fifth, with 15 per cent and 9.8 per cent of the vote respectively – suggesting younger members are more interested in candidates who have not held senior positions in Cabinet.
Rishi Sunak became the latest MP to declare his campaign for leadership, publicly announcing his mission in a video, highlighting the history of his family.
He says: “Let me tell you a story. About a young woman, almost a lifetime ago, who boarded a plane armed with hope for a better life and the love of her family. This young woman came to Britain, where she managed to find a job, but it took her nearly a year to save enough money for her husband and children to follow her.
“One of those children was my mother, aged 15. My mum studied hard and got the qualifications to become a pharmacist. She met my dad, an NHS GP, and they settled in Southampton.
“Their story didn’t end there, but that is where my story began.”
The former Chancellor of the Exchequer resigned on Tuesday following the handling of misconduct allegations against former Deputy Chief whip Chris Pincher.
Various members of the Tory party have hinted towards a campaign to be the next leader, with Suella Braverman jumping the gun, announcing her hopes before Boris Johnson had resigned.