Liz Truss is planning to stand at the next election to continue her career as a Conservative MP despite being ousted from Number 10, according to former aides who know her well.
The former prime minister is understood to have rejected following the approach taken by Sir Tony Blair and David Cameron, who left Parliament swiftly after announcing their resignations.
Instead, Ms Truss is seeking a post-No 10 career more in line with Theresa May, who continues to speak regularly in the House of Commons five years after stepping down as prime minister.
“They’ll have to drag me out of Parliament,” Ms Truss is understood to have regularly said to advisers, or words to that effect, in the past when she talked of her political career.
Tory MPs have been urged to decide before Dec 5 whether they plan to compete for their seat again at the next general election, expected in 2024, or step aside.
Chloe Smith, the former work and pensions secretary, and William Wragg, the vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, both announced this week they will not run at the next election.
Ms Smith is 40 and Mr Wragg is 34. Their relative youth and decisions to step back from politics have led to concerns the Tories face a brain drain amid the prospect of election defeat.
There has been speculation that as many as 80 of the current crop of almost 360 Tory MPs could choose not to seek re-election, with Labour enjoying a vast opinion poll lead.
Ms Truss’s expected decision to continue as an MP also opens the door to a return to the front bench for the Conservatives at a future date.
Last summer, she discussed with Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, the possibility of him becoming her foreign secretary, according to a new book, The Fall of Boris Johnson by Sebastian Payne.
Ms Truss is not expected to hit the speaking circuit as rapidly as Mr Johnson, who was paid £276,130 to attend a Washington DC insurance brokers event this autumn.
Ms Truss has been in Tory politics for almost two decades, rising from a councillor to the highest elected position in the UK.
There are models for holding a cabinet post after being party leader. Lord Hague quit as Tory leader after election defeat in 2001, but later became Mr Cameron’s foreign secretary.
But no former prime minister in modern times has come back to serve in a cabinet role. Mr Johnson, however, tried to return to No 10 six weeks after leaving.