Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

Ngozi James

A Nigerian-born Briton, Kemi Badenoch, has put herself forward as a candidate to become the next United Kingdom, UK, Prime Minister, following the exit of Boris Johnson.

Badenoch, a former British Equalities Minister, joins contenders including Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, trade minister Penny Mordaunt, former health secretaries Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt, ex-chancellor Rishi Sunak, his successor Nadhim Zahawi.

Badenoch was born in Wimbledon, London, to Nigerian parents. Her childhood was spent in part of the United States of America, and in Lagos, Nigeria. She returned to the United Kingdom at the age of 16.

After studying Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Sussex, Badenoch worked as a software engineer at Logica. She went on to work at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group as a systems analyst before working as an associate director at Coutts and later as a director at The Spectator magazine.

Badenoch joined the Conservative Party in 2005 at the age of 25. At the 2010 general election, she contested the Dulwich and West Norwood constituency against Labour’s Tessa Jowell and came third.

A member of the Conservative Party, she served as the Minister of State for Local Government, Faith and Communities and Minister of State for Equalities between 2021 and 2022.

“Without change the Conservative Party, Britain and the western world will continue to drift” and rivals will “outpace us economically and outmanoeuvre us internationally”, Badenoch 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.”

She said: “People are exhausted by platitudes and empty rhetoric” and an “intellectual grasp of what is required to run the country” is missing.

During her time as equalities minister, Ms Badenoch was criticised by members of the government’s LGBT+ advisory panel in March over postponements in banning conversion therapy.

She quit as a junior minister alongside four colleagues on Wednesday, saying in a joint-letter that she was stepping down from her two roles with “great regret”.

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