The unstoppable rise of Kemi Badenoch

The old socialist Ian Mikardo used to say that a political party was like a bird in that it needed a left wing and a right wing in order to fly. The guiding principle of Rishi Sunak’s mini-reshuffle seems to be that the Tory party needs a Blue Wall and a Red Wall in order to sustain a parliamentary majority. The appointment of Chelsea and Fulham MP and former George Osborne protégé Greg Hands as party chairman is about the most Blue Wall thing ever. Giving him the plain-speaking Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, a former coal miner, as deputy, could hardly be more Red Wall. If the Conservatives are turfed

Penny drops, Kemi soars in Tory activist poll

While Tom Tugendhat won the public opinion poll after last night’s debate, this is a race that will be decided by Tory members – and they seem to have a new winner (for now at least). A new ConservativeHome poll has seen Penny Mordaunt knocked off the top spot by Kemi Badenoch – who now has a double-digit lead. In a rapidly-moving contest, it’s quite significant. ‘Mordaunt’s ship is becalmed,’ says Paul Goodman in the ConHome analysis. She led Badenoch by 46 per cent to 40 per cent in an either/or poll last Tuesday. But in this different poll (with all five candidates) she’s on just 18 per cent, with Liz

Why I should become prime minister

This is an edited transcript of Kemi Badenoch’s speech announcing her candidacy for the Conservative party leadership. It’s time to tell the truth. For too long, politicians have been telling us that we can have it all: have your cake and eat it. And I’m here to tell you that is not true. It never has been. There are always tough choices in life and in politics. No free lunches, no tax cuts without limits on government spending, and a stronger defence without a slimmer state. Governing involves trade-offs, and we need to start being honest about that.  Unlike others, I’m not going to promise you things without a plan to deliver

Gove backs Kemi Badenoch for prime minister

Michael Gove has endorsed Kemi Badenoch for Tory leader. Badenoch, who was one of his junior ministers at the Department for Levelling Up, is described by Gove as ‘Keir Starmer’s worst nightmare’ and she has a ‘focus intellect and no-bulls**t drive’. Gove’s support is a coup for Badenoch. It is not every day that someone throws their weight behind someone who was their junior minister until a few days ago. Gove makes a typically eloquent case. But the jump for Badenoch from being a minister of state to being prime minister would be immense. The challenge for her is persuading 120 MPs – the final-two threshold – that she can make that