Kemi Badenoch hints at another Tory leadership run after general election

Kemi Badenoch previously ran for the leadership in 2022  (Sky News)
Kemi Badenoch previously ran for the leadership in 2022 (Sky News)

Kemi Badenoch has hinted she could make another run for the Tory leadership, if the party loses the election next month.

During a debate hosted by the Institute of Directors and Bloomberg on Monday, the Business Secretary was asked about her intentions if Rishi Sunak is ousted on 4 July.

She claimed there was “no better job” than Business and Trade Secretary, which she described as being “a lot easier and a lot less pressured than being prime minister”.

But the senior Conservative suggested she could have bigger ambitions to become a Tory leader wannabe despite losing the 2022 contest.

The Conservative right-winger, who is fighting for re-election in the redrawn North West Essex seat, said: “The fact of the matter is, I stood and I lost. And what terrifies me now is not not becoming leader, it is seeing Labour come in.

“This is one of the things that I’ve found most difficult doing this job, that people tend not to know what it is, because I’m always asked the leadership question. We’re so interested in the personalities, in the gossip and so on.

“We need to focus on this election. The choice is going to be between us or between them. Be afraid if it is them, is all I would say. And we will talk about leadership things after an election, but not before.”

The former women and equalities minister is favoured by the right of the party (PA Wire)
The former women and equalities minister is favoured by the right of the party (PA Wire)

The former Equalities Minister, known for her “anti-woke” approach, was tipped to become the new “Margaret Thatcher” before she became fourth in the final ballot behind Penny Mordaunt, Mr Sunak and Liz Truss.

Ms Badenoch joins a long list of leadership contenders hoping to become the face of the opposition if Sir Keir Starmer gets into Downing Street.

With Labour widening the gap in the polls and a potentially devastating Tory result in the general election, the party is preparing for the almost inevitable leadership battle that will follow.

Contenders likely to run for the job include security minister Tom Tugendhat, whose Tinbridge seat is predicted to survive a potential seat wipeout.

Former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick and Home Secretary James Cleverly have also left the door open with Dame Priti Patel being tipped to make a comeback.