Kemi Badenoch: who is the Conservative MP who wants to replace Boris Johnson as leader

Kemi Badenoch is the latest challenger for Conservative Party leadership

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Kemi Badenoch has announced she is standing for leadership of the Conservative Party.

She made her opening pitch to Tory voters in the Times today (9 July).

Badenoch joins former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Attorney General Suella Braverman and Tom Tugendhat in the race to replace Boris Johnson.

Here is all you need to know about her:

Who is Kemi Badenoch?

Kemi Badenoch, 41, is the MP for Saffron Walden, in Essex.

Born in London she spent time in the United States and Nigeria as a child, before returning to the UK aged 16 to attend Phoenix College in London.

Before entering politics she worked as software engineer, then a systems analyst before moving into consultancy and financial services.

She was first elected to the safe Conservative seat in 2017, having previously served as a member of the London Assembly.

Despite being relatively new to parliament, Badenoch has long been tipped as a rising-star in the Conservative party and was quickly promoted to her first junior ministerial role by Boris Johnson in 2019.

Badenoch is thought to be popular within the Conservative party and among her colleagues, but has attracted controversy on numerous occasions throughout her career.

In 2018 it was revealed that she had hacked into the website of Labour MP Harriet Harman ten years earlier.

More recently, Badenoch was criticised by the National Union of Journalists and the Council of Europe’s Safety of Journalists Platform over a series of Tweets in which she accused a HuffPost reporter of “creepy and bizarre behaviour”.

The journalist, Nadine White, had approached Badenoch’s office with a legitimate inquiry, but received so much abuse following Badenoch’s Tweets that she had to make her account private.

She was also encouraged to consider her position as equalities minister by one of three government LGBT advisers who resigned earlier this year over the government’s failure to ban conversion therapy.

What positions in government has she held?

Badenoch was the Minister of State for Equalities from February 2020 to 6 July 2022.

She also served as Minister of State for Local Government, Faith and Communities, from September 2021 to 6 July 2022.

Badenoch resigned from both positions on 6 July as part of the mass resignations from Boris Johnson’s government.

She had previously served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families from July 2019 to February 2020.

Is she standing for Conservative Party leadership and what has she said?

The Saffron Walden MP threw her hat into the ring to replace Boris Johnson as Tory party leader.

Launching her bid in The Times with a plan for a smaller state and a government “focused on the essentials” on 9 July.

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”.

Have any MPs backed her bid so far?

MP for North East Derbyshire, Lee Rowley, said he was backing Ms Badenoch.