Former Equalities Minister, Nigerian-born Kemi Badenoch, has put herself forward as a candidate to become the next United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister, promising “limited government” and “a focus on the essentials.”
The MP for Saffron Walden said she supported lower taxes “to boost growth and productivity, and accompanied by tight spending discipline.”
Writing in The Times, she also hit out at “identity politics” and said Boris Johnson was “a symptom of the problems we face, not the cause of them.
“People are exhausted by platitudes and empty rhetoric. Loving our country, our people or our party is not enough,” she said.
“What’s missing is an intellectual grasp of what is required to run the country in an era of increased polarization, protectionism and populism amplified by social media.”
She said governing Britain today requires “a nimble centre-right vision” that “can achieve things despite entrenched opposition from a cultural establishment that will not accept that the world has moved on from Blairism.”
Badenoch’s declaration capped off a day that saw many Tories declaring allegiances in the leadership race.
Rishi Sunak declared his much-anticipated intention to run, enjoying public backing from Commons Leader Mark Spencer, former Tory Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden, former chief whip Mark Harper, ex-ministers Liam Fox and Andrew Murrison, and MPs Sir Bob Neill and Paul Maynard.
Kemi Badenoch’s recollection of her childhood in Nigeria brings tears to her eyes. It is only five months since the death of her father, Femi Adegoke, from a brain tumour.
Little could he have imagined that within three years of entering the government ranks, his daughter would be launching a bid to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
But Badenoch said her father instilled in her a sense of “personal responsibility”. Last week, she quit the government to help force Johnson’s resignation.
In an interview with The Telegraph, she has now set out her reasons for launching a bid to lead the Conservatives. In short, she believes the government has lost its way.
“I think that we have accepted a consensus that is not right – that the Government should get involved in everything and do everything,” she said.
But Badenoch, who quit as equalities and local government minister in a joint move with four friends and colleagues last week, believed that the government is “doing many things badly and doing things in the wrong way.”