UNVEILED: Kemi Badenoch, 42yr-old Nigerian woman appointed top Cabinet Minister in UK
UNVEILED: Kemi Badenoch, 42yr-old Nigerian woman appointed top Cabinet Minister in UK
Liz Truss, new Prime Minister of UK, has appointed her new cabinet, hours after taking over at 10 Downing Street on September 6.
For the first time none of the great offices of state is held by a white man, with Suella Braverman as home secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor and James Cleverly as foreign secretary.
A Nigerian, Olukemi Olufunto Badenoch, is appointed International Trade Secretary. ogbomosoinsightonline.com brings her profile, sourced from Wikipedia.
Olukemi Olufunto Badenoch née Adegoke, born 2 January 1980), is a British politician serving as the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade since 2022. She previously served as Minister of State for Local Government, Faith and Communities and Minister of State for Equalities from 2021 to 2022. A member of the Conservative Party, she has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Saffron Walden since 2017.
Born in Wimbledon, London, to Nigerian parents, Badenoch 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.
In 2012, Badenoch unsuccessfully contested a seat on the London Assembly, but was appointed to the body after Victoria Borwick resigned in 2015. A supporter of Brexit in the 2016 referendum, Badenoch was elected to the House of Commons in 2017. After Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019, Badenoch was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families. In the February 2020 reshuffle, she was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities. In September 2021, she was promoted to Minister of State for Equalities and appointed Minister of State for Local Government, Faith and Communities. In July 2022, Badenoch resigned from the government and stood to replace Johnson in the 2022 Conservative Party leadership election, but was eliminated from the contest in the fourth round of voting.
Considered to be on the political right of the Conservative Party, Badenoch has criticised “critical race theory” (CRT) and has been characterized as a social conservative and ‘anti-woke’ politician. As Minister of State for Equalities, Badenoch opposed plans by the Financial Conduct Authority to allow trans employees to self-identify in the workplace, and opposes gender neutral bathrooms in public buildings.
Olukemi Olufunto Adegoke was born on 2 January 1980 in Wimbledon, London. She is the daughter of Femi Adegboke and Feyi Adegoke who are of Nigerian origin. Her father was a GP and her mother is a professor of physiology. Badenoch’s childhood included living in Lagos, Nigeria and in the United States, where her mother lectured. She has a brother named Fola and a sister called Lola. She returned to the UK at the age of 16 to live with a friend of her mother’s owing to the deteriorating political and economic situation in Nigeria which had affected her family. Although a British citizen and born in the UK, Badenoch stated that she was “to all intents and purposes a first-generation immigrant” during her parliamentary maiden speech.
Education and private sector career
She obtained A Levels from Phoenix College, a former further education college in Morden, whilst working at a branch of McDonald’s among other jobs. Badenoch studied Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Sussex, completing an Master of Engineering (MEng) degree in 2003. She initially worked within the IT sector, first as a software engineer at Logica (later CGI Group) from 2003 to 2006.
While working there she studied law part-time at Birkbeck, University of London, and completed an Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 2009. Badenoch then worked as a systems analyst at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, before pursuing a career in consultancy and financial services, working as an associate director of private bank and wealth manager Coutts from 2006 to 2013 and later a digital director at The Spectator from 2015 to 2016.
Early political career
Badenoch joined the Conservative Party in 2005 at the age of 25. At the 2010 general election, she contested the Dulwich and West Norwood constituency against Labour’s Tessa Jowell and came third.
In 2012, Badenoch stood for the Conservatives in the London Assembly election, where she was placed fifth on the London-wide list. The election saw the Conservatives win only three seats from the London-wide list, so Badenoch was not elected.
Three years later, in the 2015 general election, Victoria Borwick was elected to the House of Commons and subsequently resigned her seat on the London Assembly. The fourth-placed candidate on the list, Suella Fernandes, had also been elected to the House of Commons, and declined to fill the vacancy. Badenoch (as she had become, following her marriage in 2012) was therefore declared to be the new Assembly Member. She went on to retain her seat in the Assembly in the 2016 election. Badenoch supported Brexit in the 2016 UK EU membership referendum.
Badenoch was shortlisted to be the Conservative Party candidate for the marginal Hampstead and Kilburn constituency at the 2017 general election, but was unsuccessful. She was ultimately selected as the Conservative candidate for Saffron Walden, a safe seat for her party, which she held with 37,629 votes and a majority of 24,966 (41.0%).
In her maiden speech as an MP on 19 July, she described the vote for Brexit as “the greatest ever vote of confidence in the project of the United Kingdom” and cited her personal heroes as the Conservative politicians Winston Churchill, Airey Neave and Margaret Thatcher.
In the same month, Badenoch was selected to join the 1922 Executive Committee. In September, she was appointed to the parliamentary Justice Select Committee. She was appointed as the Conservative Party’s Vice Chair for Candidates in January 2018.
She voted for Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement in early 2019. In the indicative votes on 27 March, she voted against a referendum on a withdrawal agreement and against a customs union with the EU. In October, Badenoch voted for Johnson’s withdrawal agreement.
In the run-up to the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election, Badenoch was tipped as a possible contender just two years into her tenure in parliament. Badenoch instead supported the campaign of Michael Gove. In the December 2019 general election, she was re-elected with an increased majority of 27,594 (43.7%) votes.
In July 2019, Badenoch was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. In February 2020, Badenoch was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities) in the Department for International Trade. She has been a member of the Public Accounts Committee since March 2020.
In a government reshuffle in September 2021, Badenoch was promoted to Minister of State for Equalities and appointed Minister of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. Within days of her appointments, the latter title was renamed “Minister of State for Levelling Up Communities”. On 6 July 2022, Badenoch resigned from the government, and on 8 July she stood to succeed Johnson in the 2022 Conservative Party leadership election. She was later eliminated after the fourth ballot with 59 votes.
During a debate in the House of Commons in April 2021, Badenoch criticised the Labour Party’s response to a report compiled by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities which had declared Britain was not institutionally racist. Labour had described the report as “cherry-picking of data”, while the party’s former frontbench MP Dawn Butler claimed the report was “gaslighting on a national scale”, describing those who put it together as “racial gatekeepers.” Badenoch accused Labour of “wilful misrepresentations” over the report and responded to Butler’s comments by stating “It is wrong to accuse those who argue for a different approach as being racism deniers or race traitors. It’s even more irresponsible, dangerously so, to call ethnic minority people racial slurs like Uncle Toms, coconuts, house slaves or house negroes for daring to think differently.”
In a Black History Month debate in the House of Commons in October 2020, she reiterated the government’s opposition to primary and secondary schools teaching white privilege and similar “elements of critical race theory” as uncontested facts. ConservativeHome readers voted Badenoch’s speech on critical race theory 2020 ‘speech of the year’, in which she said that any school that teaches “elements of political race theory as fact, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law”.
During her leadership campaign launch, Badenoch expressed criticism of identity politics in a 2022 article for The Times, arguing that “identity politics is not about tolerance or individual rights, but the very opposite of our crucial and enduring British values.”
Regarding the United Kingdom’s colonial history, Badenoch has argued that “There were terrible things that happened during the British Empire, there were other good things that happened, and we need to tell both sides of the story”.
In leaked WhatsApp messages, Badenoch said “I don’t care about colonialism because [I] know what we were doing before colonialism got there” and argued that Europeans “came in and just made a different bunch of winners and losers” on the African continent. She also argued that prior to colonization, “There was never any concept of ‘rights,’ so [the] people who lost out were old elites not every day people”.
In 2019, Badenoch abstained on a vote to extend same-sex marriage rights to Northern Ireland. In March 2021, Badenoch was encouraged to “consider her position” as an equalities minister by Jayne Ozanne, one of a group of three government LGBT advisers who quit their roles due to the decision by the government not to include transgender conversion therapy in its plans to ban gay conversion therapy, with Ozanne describing a speech by Badenoch on the issue as being “appalling” and the “final straw”.
Shortly after her appointment as Minister of State for Equalities 2021, Vice News said they had received leaked audio from 2018 in which Badenoch mocked gay marriage, referred to trans women as “men” and used the term transsexual which is considered offensive by some trans people.
In 2018, Badenoch criticized what she considers to be a “puritanical” view on sexual morality common among millennials:
“When I look at a lot of the stuff that you see on social media about how – I think it’s a generational thing as well – younger people look at appropriate behaviours and what is a sexual advance, what is sexual harassment and so on; to me, it’s actually becoming a lot more puritanical than anything I ever saw in my 20s or in my teens.”
2022 leadership candidacy
On 6 July 2022, Badenoch resigned from government, citing Boris Johnson’s handling of the Chris Pincher scandal, in a joint statement with fellow Ministers Alex Burghart, Neil O’Brien, Lee Rowley and Julia Lopez. Two days later, she launched a bid to succeed Johnson as Conservative party leader. She made the announcement in an article for The Times in which she said she wanted to “tell the truth” and advocated “strong but limited government”.
As a candidate called the target of net zero carbon emissions “ill-thought through” and said that politicians had become “hooked on the idea of the state fixing the majority of problems”. She launched her campaign at an event held on 12 July. At her launch, handwritten signs saying “Men” and “Ladies” were taped to the doors of gender-neutral toilets.
According to the The Sunday Times, Badenoch entered the race as “a relatively unknown minister for local government” but “within a week emerged as the insurgent candidate to become Britain’s next prime minister”. On 16 July, a Conservative Home survey found Badenoch to be the favored candidate of members by a double-digit margin. She was eliminated in the fourth round of voting, winning 59 votes in that round, the fewest of the four remaining candidates.
The following table shows how many MPs supported Badenoch during each election round:
Date Votes Received % Position /Candidates Ref
13 July 2022 40 11.2 4 / 8 
14 July 2022 49 13.7 4 / 6 
18 July 2022 58 16.2 4 / 5 
19 July 2022 59 16.5 4 / 4 
Following her elimination from the leadership contest on 19 July, Badenoch has stated that she will not endorse another candidate.
Hacking of Labour MP’s website
In April 2018, The Mail on Sunday obtained a video of an interview that Badenoch did with Core Politics, where she confessed to hacking into the website of a Labour MP in 2008. The MP in question was Harriet Harman, who was then Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Harman accepted Badenoch’s apology, but the matter was reported to Action Fraud, the UK’s cyber crime reporting centre.
Tulip Siddiq pregnancy controversy
In 2019, Badenoch received press attention for comments made regarding pregnant Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, who delayed her scheduled Caesarean section in order to make it to a House of Commons vote on Brexit. Badenoch was criticized for arguing that Siddiq was “making a point” by insisting on attending the vote.
Journalist Nadine White incident
Badenoch published a series of tweets in January 2021 in which she included screenshots of questions sent to her office by HuffPost journalist Nadine White whom she, as a result, accused of “creepy and bizarre behaviour”. White subsequently made her Twitter account private, citing the abuse she received. Badenoch’s actions were criticised by both the National Union of Journalists and the Council of Europe’s Safety of Journalists Platform. She was defended by the prime minister’s press secretary who commented that it was all a “misunderstanding”.
Kemi is married to Hamish Badenoch; they have two daughters and a son. Hamish works for Deutsche Bank and was a Conservative councillor from 2014 to 2018 on Merton Borough Council, representing Wimbledon Village. He also unsuccessfully contested Foyle for the Northern Ireland Conservatives at the 2015 general election. Badenoch was a board member of the Charlton Triangle Homes housing association until 2016, and was also a school governor at St Thomas the Apostle College in Southwark, and the Jubilee Primary School.
Badenoch describes herself as a cultural Christian and notes that her maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister in Nigeria. Badenoch’s father Femi died in February 2022 and she took bereavement leave from her ministerial duties for a brief period.