Former British equalities minister, Kemi Badenoch, has launched a bid to become the next prime minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Conservative Party, a declaration that has continued to attract public endorsements.
Ms Badenoch, who was born Olukemi Olufunto in Wimbledon, London to parents of Nigerian origin, joined the race to succeed scandal-dogged Prime Minister Boris Johnson as Conservative leader on Saturday.
She was one of the nearly 60 members of parliament and aides who quit last week after Johnson apologised for appointing a senior colleague facing sexual assault claims to a prominent role.
The UK prime minister was last week forced to resign, although he said he would stay in office until his successor was appointed.
While announcing her bid for the UK’s top job in an article published in The Times newspaper, 42-year-old Badenoch and MP for Saffron Walden called for change, saying the British public was “exhausted by platitudes and empty rhetoric”.
“I’m putting myself forward in this leadership election because I want to tell the truth,” she said. “It’s the truth that will set us free.
“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 is in the race to become the next UK prime minister alongside Rishi Sunak, former chancellor; Sajid Javid, former health secretary; Ben Wallace, defence secretary; and Jeremy Hunt, former foreign secretary, among several others.
Her declaration has attracted a number of public endorsements, including by some members of the British parliament such as Neil O’Brien, MP for Harborough; Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath; and Gareth Bacon, MP for Orpington.
Badenoch has previously held roles as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Education.
She is also a former Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party and former member of the Justice Select Committee.
Prior to her election as a Member of Parliament, she was a Conservative member of the London Assembly, acting as the GLA Conservative’s spokesperson for the economy.
Meanwhile, the ruling Conservative party has said a new UK prime minister to replace Johnson would be announced on September 5 with 11 hopefuls vying for the job.
The influential 1922 Committee of non-ministerial Tory MPs in parliament on Monday outlined a timetable for the party’s leadership election.
Nominations are scheduled to officially open and close on Tuesday, with a new prime minister set to be installed when parliament returns from the summer break on September 5, said Chair of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady.
Tory MPs will whittle the current list down to a final two through a series of ballots, with the worst-performing candidate eliminated after each round, before party members choose the winner.
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