LEO DOCHERTY: My friend Kemi Badenoch is straight-talking, tough, intelligent… and has got EVERYONE talking | The Sun

MMY straight-talking friend Kemi Badenoch has got everyone listening.

Her intelligence, conviction, toughness, and desire to level with the British public that the state can’t solve all of our problems is turning heads, and unsurprisingly so.

People have had enough of the same old cheap slogans and consensus statism. 

Kemi offers our Party the best chance of being able to renew and offer a fresh vision to voters and the country from within Government.

The fact we need to face is that we have been in government for twelve years now, and while there has been a lot of positive progress during that time that we can be proud of, there is still plenty of work to be done. 

Voters will rightly be asking at the next election, am I better off now than I was five years ago? For too many, the answer will be no.


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This is not all down to factors in our control, of course. A global pandemic and Putin’s war in Ukraine have all played a serious factor in this.

But ultimately we will still need to be able to communicate to voters at the next election that we are the ones with the plan to turn things around.

I believe in Kemi because she has the right diagnoses of the problems, and the right solutions for them.

She understands that the consensus of the past decade that a bigger state is the answer to our problems, that managerialism from Whitehall is the best form of government, and that economic growth is at best a secondary concern, has a lot to answer for.

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Kemi knows that we could be doing so much better in terms of driving growth and improving the quality of life for all of our citizens, because she believes in Britain.

She sees the good that is inherent in our nation and its shared institutions, and she wants to unleash that potential. She is a proud defender of our country, our culture and our values.

Free speech, democracy, justice, and the rule of law will always need staunch defending by conservatives – at home and abroad.

As a former soldier who attended Sandhurst and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and as Minister for Defence people, I am acutely aware of the dangers we, and our allies who share our values, face abroad.

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is just one example of what can happen if defenders of liberalism and justice do not make themselves heard – and felt – in the international arena. 

But this is not easily done. To properly meet these challenges abroad with the strength and will that they necessitate, we must first overcome obstacles closer to home.

That means making a strong and persuasive case for Britain’s role in the world. Too many would have us shrink behind our borders, instead preferring to spend resources on our own people.

But as we have seen over the last six months we live in a globalised world and our domestic lives are extremely vulnerable to disruption in far-away places, as supply chains are cut and business confidence threatened. Putin has much to answer for with the cost of living crisis. 

We can be extremely proud of our Government and Prime Minister’s response to the Ukraine crisis. We have shown the same international leadership and stubbornness in the face of tyranny that has made the UK a great country throughout history.

We put paid to the notion that after Brexit we would be isolated and powerless, by leading the European response to support Ukraine and standing up against illiberal tyrants. But we cannot just bank that and retreat now.

Not only must we remain staunch allies of Ukraine in their ongoing battle, we have to remain ready and resourced to support others when the next crisis arises.

I know that Kemi Badenoch is the right person to take up this mantle. She believes, like me, in the good that the United Kingdom can do on the world stage. She gets that our values of tolerance and self-determination are worth defending, and that if we fail the impacts will be felt close to home.

I know that she has the mettle, drive, and ability to both make that case to opponents domestically, and to put the United Kingdom’s best foot forward abroad.

She would be able and willing to stand up to any tyrant, dictator or meddler to defend our allies in the protection of liberty and democracy.

We need a Prime Minister who understands what it means to be a conservative in the round. Kemi gets that the state cannot be the solution to all of our problems at home, and that Whitehall must roll back from the everyday lives of our people.

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But she also knows that to truly protect our people and our values, the UK needs to retain its historical role as a global defender of peace, justice, and freedom.

We and our allies can be safe in the knowledge that Kemi will always have our back.

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