Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has thrown her hat into the ring to become the leader of the Conservative Party despite her “utterly failing” LGBTQ+ people.
The Tory MP for Saffron Walden, 42, announced Friday (8 July) that she will be entering the race to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister.
Confirming her candidacy to The Times, Badenoch said she wanted to curb government and to “tell the truth”.
Touting herself as a “nimble, centre-right” candidate, Badenoch laid out her vision for a country “exhausted by platitudes and empty rhetoric” and as one whose immigration policies are viewed as “immoral”.
“Without change the Conservative Party, Britain and the western world will continue to drift,” the former Exchequer secretary to the Treasury wrote.
“I’m putting myself forward in this leadership election because I want to tell the truth. It’s the truth that will set us free.”
A keen backer of Brexit, Badenoch said Britain is “falsely criticised as oppressive to minorities and immoral because it enforces its own borders”.
Earlier this year, the government announced its new immigration partnership with Rwanda. The policy will send some asylum seekers who arrive via the English Channel with a one-way ticket to the deeply anti-LGBTQ+ country.
Even as the Home Office acknowledged in safety checks that there is “some evidence” sending LGBTQ+ asylum seekers there would place them in harm, officials have offshored them anyway – and aren’t stopping anytime soon.
Former chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak outside 11 Downing Street with his then-Treasury team including Exchequer secretary to the Treasury Kemi Badenoch. (Jeff Overs/BBC News and Current Affairs via Getty Images)
Badenoch said: “We cannot maintain a cohesive nation-state with the zero-sum identity politics we see today.
“Exemplified by coercive control, the imposition of views, the shutting down of debate, the end of due process, identity politics is not about tolerance or individual rights but the very opposite of our crucial and enduring British values.”
She said her government would focus on cutting taxes while keeping a “tight spending discipline”. Peeling back the powers of government to only the “essentials” will be a top priority, she added.
“What’s missing is an intellectual grasp of what is required to run the country in an era of increased polarization, protectionism and populism defined by social media,” Badenoch wrote.
Badenoch resigned as equalities minister on Wednesday, ending her time at the Government Equalities Office as one defined by secret meetings with the LGB Alliance and constant calls for her resignation over her office’s handling of the conversion therapy ban.
Reportedly skipping a key meeting on Gender Recognition Act reforms, alleged meetings with so-called “ex-gay” groups and her defence of anti-trans professor, Kathleen Stock also attracted criticism.
While in leaked remarks made in 2018, Badenoch reportedly described trans women as “men using women’s bathrooms” and asked: “We’ve got gay marriage and civil partnerships, so what are transsexuals looking for?”
Johnson, who resigned on Thursday, said he intends to stay in Downing Street until a successor is chosen.
Former chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his leadership bid Friday on the coattails of attorney general Suella Braverman, who has voiced her intentions to run.
Braverman, the MP for Fareham, send shudders of fear throughout the LGBTQ+ community when she suggested her leadership bid. She said as prime minister, she would stamp out “woke rubbish” and said there has been a “collective frenzy” over trans rights.
Badenoch’s bid sent similar ripples, but mainly of disbelief.
Jayne Ozanne, a former LGBTQ+ advisor to the government, told PinkNews: “I’m staggered by the pure naked ambition that is being shown by Kemi Badenoch, a junior minister who has never held a senior cabinet position and who has utterly failed in her brief to champion the people she was appointed to protect – namely the LGBTQ+ community.”