As she appoints a campaign manager and tells MPs: ‘I’m one of you’… Is Business Secretary Kimmy Badenoch hoping to unite the right in a new leadership bid?
Business Secretary Kimmy Badenoch has accused Tory MPs of launching a ‘leadership maneuver’ as they digest defeat in Thursday’s by-election.
Mrs Badenoch, who was backed by Michael Gove in his leadership bid last year, hired a ‘campaign manager’ and told MPs ‘I’m one of you’.
But allies of Ms Badenoch have rejected the claims, saying the ‘campaign manager’, James Roberts, a parliamentary adviser, was ‘leading MP engagement’ and his meetings with MPs were to discuss post-Brexit deregulation.
A senior Tory MP claimed: ‘Cammy is not ashamed of what is going wrong at the moment. He sees himself as one of the few adults who can take over from Sage and realign the party to the right and keep One Nationers happy.
‘They are being tactful and talking to potential allies on these terms.’
Business Secretary Kimmy Badenoch has accused Tory MPs of launching a ‘leadership maneuver’ as they digest Thursday’s by-election defeat.
Senior party figures have urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to return to the ‘true blue’ path if he has any hope of winning the election.
A ‘Summer of Sunakism’
Watch out for Keir Starmer – the Tories are aiming to banish the by-election blues and return to Labor with the so-called ‘summer of Sunakism’.
Party sources revealed last night that Rishi Sunak was ready to take the gloves off with the Labor leader to highlight the dividing lines on immigration and crime.
One said the prime minister has focused on bringing stability to the country and his party since taking office last year. But he is about to enter a new phase to show where Labor will take the country.
According to Tory insiders, the Prime Minister will reveal how Labor has ‘no answers’, particularly with the small boat crisis.
But Sir Keir’s record on crime – particularly when he was Director of Public Prosecutions – will also come under sharp focus.
A Tory MP joked last night that the ‘summer of Sunakism’ would certainly not make for a restful rest for Sir Keir and his party.
But a source close to Mrs Badenoch said: ‘It is complete and utter rubbish. Kemmy was invited to speak to a group of MPs on post-Brexit deregulation. If he didn’t come he was accused of being aloof, when he did it was called a leadership pitch. Total nonsense!
‘Kemi is 100% behind the PM and is pushing ahead with his five priorities despite mega trade deals like CPTPP and big business wins like the Tata Gigafactory.’
Despite the surprise victory in Uxbridge, senior party figures have urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to return to the ‘true blue’ path if he has any hope of winning the election.
A minister who served in the Boris Johnson and Liz Truss administrations told the Mail on Sunday: ‘There needs to be a complete change in the direction of the tears being thrown against us at the Selby and Somerton show.
‘We should cut taxes, reduce the size of government, rein in Whitehall and delay net zero. Uxbridge does not offer a get-out-of-jail-free card for Sage.
‘The results there show that when we are conservative – tax cuts and oppose new rules like ULEZ – we are popular.
‘Weary ministers responsible for the government’s failed social democratic policy agenda like Gove and Hunt need to be replaced by conservatives like Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
‘It is becoming increasingly clear that the party leadership’s failure to act now and change course will risk electoral armageddon for the party in the next election.’
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