Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 July 2022:
Kemi Badenoch, who currently serves in the government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities at the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Equalities, has today emerged as kingmaker in the ruling Conservative Party leadership contest, after losing the fourth round with 59 votes this afternoon.
The results of this afternoon’s vote at Westminster, shows the remaining candidates for the leadership of the Tory Party and effectively Prime Minister of the country – Rishi Sunak (Finance Minister) scoring 118 votes, Penny Mordaunt 92, and Foreign Minister Liz Truss 86.
The three will now go on to the fifth round tomorrow afternoon, when Tory MPs will once again cast their votes to elect the two candidates, who will go forward to the over 160,000 members of the Tory Party to decide who becomes the new British Prime Minister, with the results expected on 5th September.
Although British-Nigerian Kemi has been eliminated from the battle to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, she can be proud of the record she has set in British politics to become the first African, first Black woman, and first Black person in Britain to take part in any election to become British Prime Minister.
Perhaps most importantly now, is her enviable position as Kingmaker. Kemi has become a powerhouse that cannot be ignored by any of the remaining candidates in the contest, nor within the Conservative Party.
Whosoever is to emerge as winner of the leadership contest, will need to speak to Kemi and her backers to gain her support. In return, Kemi no doubt will be expected to hold a key ministerial job in the new post-Boris government.
What Kemi’s journey has shown young Black Britons is that, there is no such thing today as impossible, if you follow your dreams and believe in yourself with determination and effort.
Of course, there is racism across many facets of British life, including institutionalised racial discrimination. But this barrier must be broken by younger generation of educated Africans and Caribbeans irrespective of party-political colour.
Today, Kemi received the votes of 59 Tory MPs, Rishi Sunak 118, Penny Mordaunt 92, and Liz Truss 86 votes. Kemi was competing against the crème de la crème of the Conservative Party and MPs with greater ministerial experience. But she held her head up high and contested with dignity and confidence.
She may be out of the contest but has no doubt become a household name with a great political future at just 42 years old.
Rishi Sunak, the former finance minister in Boris’ government is leading with the most votes from Tory MPs and is now likely to emerge as one of the final two candidates, with Kemi holding the key to Number Ten Downing Street – the British Prime Minister’s office – as Kingmaker.
Her position as potential kingmaker in the battle to elect a new British Prime Minister became obvious, after winning significantly large number of votes in the third round of the contest, based on the very good performance she put on at the last two TV debates of contestants.
According to a report in the Times Newspaper: “A Tory donor who left the party in protest at Boris Johnson’s premiership has suggested he could rejoin if Kemi Badenoch is elected leader. John Armitage, a businessman who has given more than £3 million to the Conservatives, dismissed the other candidates in the leadership race as “slick and superficial”.
“He said, however, that Badenoch stood out from the rest of the pack as a “top-class” candidate because she appeared genuine to voters. Armitage, 62, stopped funding the Conservative Party in 2020 and has since donated to two Labour MPs, one of whom is Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, who received £15,000 from him in January.”
Olukemi Olufunto Badenoch (nee Adegoke) was born on 2nd January 1980 in Wimbledon, London, UK to Nigerian parents. She spent parts of her childhood in Lagos and the United States before returning to the United Kingdom at 16.
After graduating from the University of Sussex, she was a software engineer at Logica before studying law at Birkbeck, University of London. Badenoch later pursued a career in banking, working for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Coutts before joining politics.
Kemi was first elected as MP in 2017. She was re-elected in 2019 as the MP for the Saffron Walden constituency. She is 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.
Kemi is also a patron of several charities in the constituency including Support 4 Sight, The Stroke Club and CVSU. Her other areas of interest include engineering and technology, social mobility and integration. She provides regular mentoring to women who wish to pursue careers in technology.