So-called ‘anti-woke’ candidate Kemi Badenoch knocked out of Tory leadership race

A screenshot of equalities minister Kemi Badenoch during Britain's Next Prime Minister: The ITV Debate on 17 July

Ex-equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has been knocked out of the Tory leadership race, dashing her hopes of replacing prime minister Boris Johnson.

Conservative MPs completed a fourth round of voting on Tuesday afternoon (19 July) to whittle the four remaining candidates down to three, leaving Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss in the running.

Despite declaring herself “in it to win it”, and garnering support from the fascist far-right group Britain First, Badenoch was knocked out of the race with the least amount of votes from just 59 MPs.

Truss came in third with 86, Mordaunt in second with 92, and Sunak retained the top spot with 118 MPs.

Tom Tugendhat was already eliminated after the third round of voting on Monday (18 July).

Badenoch had based her leadership campaign on being firmly opposed to “identity politics”, a stance that was unsurprising considering her track record.

Kemi Badenoch has a long history of working against LGBTQ+ rights

In remarks leaked last year, but made in 2018, just a year after Kemi Badenoch became an MP, she reportedly described trans women as “men using women’s bathrooms” and asked: “We’ve got gay marriage and civil partnerships, so what are transsexuals looking for?”

Despite her anti-trans views, Badenoch found herself in the Government Equalities Office by 2020.

During her time as an equalities minister, she held secret meetings with the LGB Alliance, faced constant calls for her resignation over her office’s handling of the conversion therapy ban, and skipped a key meeting on Gender Recognition Act reforms.

She was also slammed for allegedly holding meetings with so-called “ex-gay” groups and her defence of anti-trans professor, Kathleen Stock.

Kemi Badenoch resigned as junior equalities minister when she joined the mass exodus of officials from Boris Johnson’s besieged government.

Although the LGBTQ+ community breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday that the former equalities minister would not be leading the country, the remaining options are hardly better.

Truss, Badenoch’s former boss in the Government Equalities Office, was responsible for scrapping Gender Recognition Act reform, and for failing time and time again to deliver a comprehensive conversion therapy ban to protect LGBTQ+ people.

While Sunak’s first policy pledge was to crack down on trans rights when it comes to sports and gender-neutral language, Mordaunt has faced criticism for her u-turn on her apparent support for Gender Recognition Act reform and self-ID for trans folk.

Once the candidates have been narrowed down to two finalists, a summer of campaigning will culminate in a vote by around 150,000 Tory party members, and the winner, who will both become Conservative Party leader and the prime minister of Britain, will be announced on 5 September as parliament returns.

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