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Kemi Badenoch praises former leadership rival Liz Truss as 'maverick'

Kemi Badenoch praises her former rival for Tory leadership Liz Truss as ‘maverick’ and hails her ‘unpredictability’

  • Kemi Badenoch, former Tory leadership contender, praised Liz Truss for refusing to stick to the status quo
  • Truss gained the support of seven MPs last night including Karen Bradley and Andy Carter
  • Badenoch also said the attacks on Miss Truss at the beginning of the contest were ‘unpleasant’ and ‘misogynistic’ 

Liz Truss is a ‘maverick’ whose unpredictability will make her a more creative leader, according to former Tory leadership contender Kemi Badenoch.

Mrs Badenoch said: ‘If you want somebody who’s very maverick, I think Liz [would be the best option].’

In an exclusive interview with Sarah Vine’s Mail+ Femail Half Hour podcast yesterday, Mrs Badenoch praised Miss Truss for refusing to stick to the status quo.

‘I loved working with her because there was an unpredictability there that usually helped us get into the right place,’ she said.

‘Sometimes if you’re too predictable in politics you don’t think of new ideas. You just do the same thing over and over again and nothing changes.’

In another boost to Miss Truss’s campaign, seven MPs declared their support for her last night.

The group, including former Cabinet minister Karen Bradley and ‘Red Wall’ MP Andy Carter, said she was the best candidate ‘to unite the party, deliver on our 2019 election promises and beat Keir Starmer’s Labour Party’.

In another boost to Miss Truss’s campaign, seven MPs declared their support for her last night

The other MPs were Katherine Fletcher, Trudy Harrison, Kieran Mullan, Heather Wheeler and Matthew Offord.

Saffron Walden MP Mrs Badenoch refused to officially endorse either candidate in the race, but said Tory members who wanted a ‘technocrat’ with a policy brain should vote for Rishi Sunak.

She added: ‘If you think what we need is the person who is super-technocrat, will be steady and stay this course… then I think that Rishi is the sort of person that you want.’

She said she trusted both candidates to deliver if elected, adding: ‘I’ve worked with them both and we have some good candidates… I’m watching it with interest.’

Mrs Badenoch said she hoped to work closely with the next prime minister.

‘I am very worried about the direction the country is going in and I’m hoping that I will have an opportunity to be part of a team that helps to sort it out.’

Branding both candidates her ‘friends’, she condemned infighting during the race, adding that attacks on Foreign Secretary Miss Truss at the beginning of the contest were ‘unpleasant’ and ‘misogynistic’.

And she branded accusations that Mr Sunak was a ‘snake’ as ‘appalling’.

Mrs Badenoch also took aim at Labour for the lack of quality in its debates and policies and for being ‘scared’ of discussing controversial topics such as sex and gender. 

She said: ‘What I see in Parliament is even more scary than probably what you see outside – just the quality of their arguments, of the debate, things they choose to focus on.

‘If you look at the issue of sex and gender – the Labour Party was the party of feminism and it’s not any more because they’re so scared of upsetting a very small group of people.’

Mrs Badenoch admitted she had certain ‘advantages’ when challenging ‘liberal Lefties’ on such issues because she was a black woman.

She said: ‘On many of the issues that I’ve spoken about, the reason why many people are scared is because they can very quickly be dismissed as being racist or as being sexist, homophobic.

‘And being a black woman means that it is a lot harder for people to say that dismissively. People think, “well, if she is saying this, maybe there’s a bit more to what’s going on than just nasty bigots who don’t want to be nice to people”.

‘So that has helped me a lot. But it’s come at a cost in a different way, in that rather than being called a racist or a sexist, I’m called a race traitor.’

Discussing gender and the influence of controversial lobby group Stonewall, she said: ‘You asked me why is it that I am the one who said many of these things. 

‘I feel like the child in The Emperor’s New Clothes… we need more of that little child pointing out the truth and saying this isn’t right.’

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