Badenoch and Braverman deny association with Tory leadership campaign websites

Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman have denied being associated with website domains purporting to be for future leadership bids.

It comes as a source close to Penny Mordaunt told Sky News she kept her domain active from the 2022 contests "for the same reason you'd keep a spare tire in the boot" - and not to mount a challenge against the PM.

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With Rishi Sunak widely expected to lose the election on Thursday, there has been mounting speculation about what direction the Conservatives will head in and who could take command.

While Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker has been open about fancying his chances, other senior Tories are keeping their cards close to their chests.

Over the weekend it emerged a website called was registered in April and currently redirects to the Conservative Party homepage.

Business Secretary Ms Badenoch has long been considered a favourite to succeed Mr Sunak on the Conservative right.

However, a source close to her told Sky News the website domain is "nothing to do with her".

Another one,, was last updated on 27 June, and describes itself as a grassroots campaign on social media. This is "totally independent" of the cabinet minister, the source said.

Meanwhile, the website used for Ms Badenoch's leadership attempt in 2022,, no longer exists.

It is common for website domain names which may be in demand later to be bought up and sold on for a profit.

Often in this case the domain would be parked and the offer to buy it would be advertised, so it is unusual that in the case of the Kemi4leader site that it redirects to the Conservatives' home page.

Ms Braverman has also told Sky News a website,, which redirects to her personal website, has nothing to do with her.

This was registered a few days after Boris Johnson resigned as prime minister in July 2022 and was last updated in June this year.

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It is a different domain to the one Ms Braverman used when she sought to replace him, which was and has since been parked - meaning that it is still registered but not actively being used.

The campaign websites had fuelled speculation the Tories were already eyeing their next move despite polling day still being two days away.

While both women have distanced themselves from the websites, they are widely seen to be possible replacements for Mr Sunak in the event he does lose the election.

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Ms Badenoch has not ruled out the possibility of another leadership bid, having come fourth in the July 2022 contest to replace Mr Johnson.

Speaking at a Bloomberg debate last week, she said her current frontbench role is the "best job in the world" and "we will talk about leadership things after an election, but not before".

Ms Braverman, the twice former home secretary, has been seen by some to have been running a de-facto leadership campaign since being sacked by Mr Sunak last year, having regularly made policy interventions on slashing immigration and withdrawing from the European Convention of Human Rights since then.

Like Ms Badenoch she is on the right of the Tory party - but some want to see the Conservatives move back to the centre ground.

Commons leader Ms Mordaunt is seen as one of the favourites to head the party in that direction.

Mordaunt domain kept alive

Her PM4PM website which she set up in 2022 redirects to her personal website and was last updated in May.

This was to prevent it expiring and not part of an active leadership challenge, a source close to her said. Asked why she decided to keep it alive, they added: "It's for the same reason you'd keep a spare tire in the boot."

Ms Mordaunt was recently at the centre of rumours of a plot to oust Mr Sunak - something she strongly denied at the time.

Many Conservatives are weary of the perception of more leadership talk given the calamitous events of 2022.

If Mr Sunak does resign as leader after the election, it means the Tories will have to choose their sixth leader in eight years.

Labour pointed to Mr Baker's comments to Sky News on Monday that he "wouldn't mind the chance" to lead the party.

Tories 'flaunting leadership ambitions'

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow Paymaster General, said it was "incredible that less than 60 hours until polling booths open, Tory ministers are undermining the prime minister by boldly flaunting their leadership ambitions on national television".

Who takes the reigns will ultimately depend on who survives the hurricane expected to hit the Tories on polling night.

The party could be reduced to less than 100 seats in the worst-case scenario, with several cabinet ministers at risk of being ousted.

That includes Ms Mordaunt, along with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.