Kemi Badenoch dismisses speculation over Rishi Sunak’s overthrow

Photo of author


  • By Becky Morton
  • BBC political reporter

video subtitles,

Kemi Badenoch says MPs linked to leadership speculation should ‘stop it’

Conservative MPs speculating about Rishi Sunak’s overthrow as prime minister should “stop it”, Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch has said.

Reports have circulated in recent days that some Conservative MPs want Commons leader Penny Mordaunt to replace him.

But Badenoch told BBC Breakfast this was just “a small minority of MPs”.

Asked about reports that support was building around Mordaunt as a possible replacement for the prime minister, Badenoch said: “I’m sure if Penny were here she would distance herself from those comments.

“I have been saying for a long time that the small minority of MPs who think this is something that needs to be talked about should stop it.”

He added: “I don’t think there is much to these rumours… We need to make sure that one or two MPs cannot dominate the news narrative, when over 350 MPs have different views.”

Currently, only two Conservative MPs have publicly called for Sunak to resign: Sir Simon Clarke and Dame Andrea Jenkyns.

Asked about calls from some Conservatives for him to resign, the prime minister insisted his party was “united in the desire to deliver a better future for our country”.

“I’m not interested in Westminster politics, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the future of our country,” he added.

Popular among the party’s rank and file, Mordaunt previously ran as party leader in both 2022 races.

As leader of the House of Commons, his public profile increased when he played a key role at the King’s Coronation, holding a ceremonial sword for more than an hour.

In an attempt to focus attention on the economy, Downing Street issued a statement from Sunak on Sunday night promising that 2024 “will be the year Britain recovers.”

The prime minister said he expected to see “further progress” on inflation when the latest official figures are published on Wednesday.

“There is now a real sense that the economy is turning around and all the economic indicators are pointing in the right direction,” he added.

However, some Conservatives are concerned that the National Insurance cut in the Budget has failed to improve the party’s popularity ratings in the polls.


Penny Mordaunt played a key role in the King’s Coronation last year

From April 1, the government will pay the full cost of apprenticeships for people aged 21 and under in small businesses, backed by £60 million of new investment next year.

Last week the Prime Minister came under pressure over his response to comments allegedly made by Conservative donor Frank Hester about Diane Abbott.

Hester, who has donated at least £10m to the party, reportedly said the MP made her want to “hate all black women”.

The businessman apologized for making “rude” comments but said his words “had nothing to do with her gender or her skin color.”

Downing Street initially refused to describe the comments as racist, but later did so.

It came after Ms Badenoch, who also serves as equalities minister, had already said the comments were reportedly racist and “appalling”.

The Prime Minister rejected calls from opposition parties to return the money Hester donated to the Conservatives, arguing that she had apologized and that her “regret should be accepted”.

Asked if she was comfortable with her party keeping the donations, Ms Badenoch said: “Yes… I thought the comments were racist but he apologized. I think when people apologize we should accept it.” and move forward.”

He added that the dispute was “a distraction” and “doesn’t come close to the priorities of any of my constituents.”

Leave a comment