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Gove backs Kemi Badenoch for prime minister

11 July 2022

6:11 AM

11 July 2022

6:11 AM

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 leap at a time when there is an energy crisis, a security crisis and inflation.


If the Tories were holding this leadership contest after a general election defeat, you could very easily see how Badenoch’s candidacy could take off and she could win the whole thing. But in office this there is no time to prepare: you have to be ready to be PM on day one and it is a stretch to think that any minister of state is.

What is certain, though, is that Badenoch is establishing herself as a major force in this race. She is clearly going to be a significant figure in the party in the coming years.

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