Saffron Walden MP launches Conservative Party leadership bid

Kemi Badenoch, MP for Saffron Walden - which includes Great Dunmow and Stansted, has launched a bid to become Tory leader

Kemi Badenoch, MP for Saffron Walden - which includes Great Dunmow and Stansted, has launched a bid to become leader of the Conservative Party - Credit: UK Parliament

The MP for Saffron Walden has launched her bid to become leader of the Conservative Party.

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's resignation speech, Kemi Badenoch said she would like to lead a Tory government.

She launched her bid in The Times today (Saturday, July 9), and said she wanted to "set us free by telling the truth".

Boris Johnson stood down as Prime Minister on Thursday, July 7. He is the third Prime Minister to resign since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

In her Times article, Mrs Badenoch wrote: "In 2016 and again in 2019 our country voted for change.

"Yet still a sense things aren't working remains."

She added Boris Johnson was a symptom - not a cause - of the "the problems we face".

Mrs Badenoch said: "Loving our country, our people or our party is not enough. What's missing is an intellectual grasp of what is required to run the country in an era of increased polarisation, protectionism and populism amplified by social media."

The MP for Saffron Walden - which includes Great Dunmow, Stansted Mountfitchet and Writtle - said she wants to "reinvigorate" free speech, refuse to "legislate for hurt feelings" and has called on government not to be a "piggy bank for pressure groups".

Boris Johnson announced his resignation after 59 of his MPs quit government - with Sajid Javid, the former health secretary, making the first move.

Most Read

Mr Johnson led his party to victory in 2019 with 43.9 percent of the popular vote, up from 42.4pc in 2017.

Since then, he has overseen the UK's response to the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.

He has also presided over a cost-of-living crisis - with the cost of a basket of goods rising faster in the UK than it is in the Euro area in Spring 2022.

Mr Johnson has been accused of being a "habitual liar" by multiple spokespeople, including from Mumsnet.

Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman, and Tom Tugendhat have also launched leadership bids.

Despite her promise to tackle "polarisation" in the Conservative Party and the country, former equalities, Levelling Up and Treasury minister Kemi Badenoch has been accused of "divisive" behaviour in the past.

In late 2021, she faced allegations of transphobia.

According to Vice News, she said: "It’s now, you know like, it’s not even about sexuality now, it’s now like the whole transgender movement, where, OK well we’ve got gay marriage, and civil partnerships, so what are transsexuals looking for?"

A Government Equalities Office said at the time that the comments were "taken out of context".

She has also been accused of "denial" over issues such as white supremacy and systemic racism by Labour Party politicians, according to Sky News.

She has, however, championed a government "Inclusive Britain" campaign.

On its launch, she told the House of Commons: "The UK is a multi-faith, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural success story, and we believe that many of our greatest strengths derive from the diversity of our population."

In her constituency, she has championed various charity campaigns, including the Christmas "One More Toy" appeal and the British Heart Foundation.

Mrs Badenoch commanded 60pc of the vote share in the Saffron Walden constituency in 2019.