Nigerian-born Olukemi Olufunto Badenoch, has declared bid to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK).
Johnson had resigned as the leader of the Conservative Party and effectively as prime minister last Thursday at 10, Downing Street, London.
Badenoch, a former Equalities Minister, advocating “limited government” and “a focus on the essentials”, said she supported lower taxes “to boost growth and productivity, and accompanied by tight spending discipline.”
Writing in The Times, the MP for Saffron Walden 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.
“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.”
Olukemi 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.”
But Badenoch’s declaration is coming up at a time Rishi Sunak declared his much-anticipated intention to also succeed BorisJohnson.
Sunak is believed to enjoy a formidable 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.
Olukemi Badenoch (née Adegoke) was born in Wimbledon, London on January 2, 1980, to Nigerian parents.
Her childhood was spent partly in the US (where her mother lectured) and Lagos, Nigeria. She returned to the United Kingdom at the age of 16.
Olukemi studied Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Sussex, completing an MEng in 2003.
She studied law part-time at Birkbeck, University of London and completed an LLB in 2009.
Olukemi got married to her husband, Hamish Badenoch in 2012. The couple has two daughters and a son.
Her husband works for Deutsche Bank and was a politician. He served as a Conservative councillor from 2014 to 2018 on Merton London Borough Council, representing Wimbledon Village.