Amber Rudd has openly admitted she could run to succeed Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and prime minister.
The work and pensions secretary said while she was not currently “planning” a leadership campaign it was “entirely possible” she would stand.
May has promised to step down once the Commons approves a Brexit deal.
The pledge fired the starting gun on what is expected to be a crowded leadership battle.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday, Rudd acknowledged the fight to succeed May looked like “some sort of game show”.
Asked if she would throw her hat into the ring, she said: “I don’t have a plan for it. I am choosing my words carefully here. I’m not particularly working on it.
“I have kept the door slightly ajar. But I am not committed to it at the moment.”
It has been reported the pro-EU cabinet minister could run on a joint ticket with Boris Johnson in an attempt to unite the party - in a move dubbed the “BAmber” alliance.
But Rudd said she was “not supporting anybody at the moment” and “key” to winning her backing would be a commitment to avoid a “damaging” no-deal Brexit.
Asked if she would stand herself if none of the other candidates appealed to her, she added: “That is entirely possible, I don’t rule it out.”
Other candidates tipped to take part in the leadership contest include Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss, Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.
May has faced calls from some Tory MPs to step down as soon as possible.
However following the failed coup by Brexiteers last year, there is no way to force her to quit until December.