Saffron Walden MP declares support for Conservative leadership candidate

PUBLISHED: 08:56 07 June 2019

MP Kemi Badenoch. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

MP Kemi Badenoch. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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MP Kemi Badenoch has resigned from a junior ministerial job with the Conservatives in order to focus on campaigning for the next leader of the party.

In a letter to Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis, Mrs Badenoch said she was "proud" of what she had achieved as the party's vice chairman for candidates but would be stepping down from the role to support Michael Gove.

Mrs Badenoch said: "I fully understand that Conservative Campaign Headquarters has to remain neutral during the process and I would not want to give any appearance of there being a conflict of interest.

"Therefore, it is with great regret that I will now step down from my role as vice-chairman to support and campaign for one of the candidates."

Mr Gove is one of 11 candidates vying for the job of prime minister, alongside Sam Gyimah, Mark Harper, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock, Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson, Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom, Rory Stewart and Sajid Javid.

Writing in The Sun, Mrs Badenoch said: "Our next prime minister must be ready to lead, not just jockeying for a cabinet post. They must be ready to unite our country, not just promoting one Conservative faction. But above all they must be ready to deliver Brexit and a broad programme of change."

The MP for Saffron Walden said she had "spoken to the main leadership contenders and heard interesting ideas".

She said: "The question is not who could win against Nigel Farage, it is who can best deliver Brexit so we don't fall into an election before we are out the EU.

"I have seen Michael Gove achieve against the odds. I watched him lead the Vote Leave campaign to win this country's biggest ever democratic mandate."

Mrs Badenoch said she was "suspicious" of anyone proposing simple answers to the Brexit impasse and added: "If there were simple solutions they would have been tried already".

"I know Michael Gove is ready to deliver, not just for leave voters like me, but for our entire country. That's why I am putting my trust in him."

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