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Former faith minister, Catholic MP in running to replace Boris Johnson

by Tola Mbakwe
Kemi Badenoch Tom Tugendhat.JPG - Banner image

Former Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch said on Saturday she is launching a bid to be the next Tory leader.

"I'm putting myself forward in this leadership election because I want to tell the truth," she wrote in The Times.

The MP for Saffron Walden said she supported lower taxes "to boost growth and productivity, and accompanied by tight spending discipline".

Ms Badenoch was the Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities which included being the government’s liaison for the country’s faith leaders. She assumed the role as a result of the government reshuffle in September 2021.

Ms Badenoch was born in Wimbledon and brought up in Nigeria, the 42-year-old describes herself as a 'cultural Christian' and has a range of faith traditions to draw upon.

Her maternal Grandfather was a Methodist minister and her paternal Grandfather was a Muslim who converted in later life. Ms Badenoch is married to a Catholic and has two children.

She joined the stream of Tory MPs who quit on Wednesday in protest of Boris Johnson’s leadership, unlike Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat.

The MP for Tonbridge and Malling is Catholic and chairman of the foreign affairs committee. He’s also a former soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In his announcement that he's running for Conservative Party leader, he said: “This nation needs a clean start and a government that will make, trust, service and an unrelenting focus on the cost of living crisis its guided principles.”

In November 2017, Tugendhat showed his desire to get his faith involved in politics. He appealed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on behalf of then jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.  He asked if he would consider asking the UK heads of the Anglican or Catholic Church to negotiate her release from an Iranian prison. The wife and mother was finally released this year.

Ms Badenoch and Mr Tugendhat will face fierce competition from former ministers including the Rishi Sunak and Attorney General Suella Braverman.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is also expected to announce her candidacy.

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