Boris Johnson and George Osborne could be thwarted in their bids to become Tory leader by a surprise challenger, a senior Conservative has predicted.
The next prime minister will not be one of the established front runners but instead an "outsider", as David Cameron was when he ran for the leadership, Ruth Davidson suggested.
The leader of the Scottish Tories said she expected one of the younger generation of MPs first elected in 2010 to "come through the middle" and take the top job when Mr Cameron stands down.
She told the Sunday Telegraph the job would go to a candidate who could show "warmth as well as intelligence" as she made her prediction.
She added that she would back Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb if he entered the race, according to the paper.
London mayor Mr Johnson and Chancellor Mr Osborne, along with Home Secretary Theresa May, are viewed as the established figures most likely to contest for the leadership.
But Ms Davidson said: "The party is quite good at picking people that aren't necessarily the obvious choice."
She pointed out that Mr Cameron was "by far the youngest" candidate when he stood for the leadership in 2005 and "he was the outsider".
She continued: "The party can pick winners and doesn't always pick the obvious choice. I have a sneaking suspicion ... it'll be someone who comes through the middle from the 2010 intake.
"I think there's a few really, really competent and impressive people who demonstrate warmth as well as intelligence, and I think that's quite important in politics."