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Tory leadership contenders Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman slammed by colleagues for trans 'fixation'

11 July 2024, 06:01

Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman have been criticised by colleagues for their "fixation" on trans issues
Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman have been criticised by colleagues for their "fixation" on trans issues. Picture: Getty
Fraser Knight

By Fraser Knight

Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch are "unnecessarily disrupting" Conservatives’ chances of rebuilding, colleagues claim, citing their "fixation" on transgender issues.

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A public spat between Tory leadership rivals Ms Braverman and Ms Bedenoch has been branded ‘unnecessarily disruptive' to the Conservative Party.

Two police and crime commissioners, elected in the local elections just weeks before the national vote, have criticised the pair as they seek to reunite the party.

Rishi Sunak, who suffered a blistering defeat in the General Election, announced he’d step down as Conservative leader, as he handed over Prime Ministerial power to the Labour Party.

It’s sparked speculation of some senior Tories buying to take on the job, as the Conservatives battle with which direction they should go.

Suella Braverman speaking at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington DC
Suella Braverman speaking at the National Conservatism Conference in Washington DC. Picture: Getty

Last night Ms Badenoch posted on X saying: “In government, we had too much nodding along in the room and arguments outside it.”

To which the former home secretary Ms Braverman responded: “I’d be interested in knowing whether Kemi thinks I’m having a “very public nervous breakdown… Kemi, and the rest of the cabinet, should not have nodded along, as they and Rishi took the party to disaster.”

Just days ago, Ms Braverman criticised government buildings for flying the LGBT+ progress flag, branding it a "horrible political campaign".

Announcing to LBC their plan to start a new organisation - called ReBuild - to help bring the party back together, Matthew Barber, Tory police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, said the comments were “unnecessary”

“I think it’s disruptive, I don’t think it works for anybody. It doesn't benefit those taking part [in the leadership race] and I don’t think it benefits the party.

“Leadership candidates will inevitably disagree but actually this is beyond the leadership, this is about what it means to be a Conservative.

“What we need to do is get back to pragmatic policies - it doesn’t matter if it’s the left or the right, the public don’t care about that. What they need is good solid conservatism that delivers for them.”

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He, alongside Conservative PCCs Donna Jones and Matthew Scott are planning to pull together key figures from the party to rewrite policy and bring an end to “dogmatic” politics.

Already, they say names such as Damien Green, Bob Seely and Ed Vaizey have agreed to join ReBuild, which aims to use the party’s time in opposition to “focus on the long-term vision” and “honestly assess both the internal issues of party management and various areas of policy failure”.

At a gathering of police and crime commissioners in Westminster on Wednesday evening, Mr Scott, PCC for Kent, said: “There are some people who just seem to be fixated on certain issues and we need to be better than that - talking about the things that matter to the public not just to individuals.

“When Suella gave that speech about trans issues, I’ve never heard anyone raise that on the doorstep.

“There are legitimate issues in that debate that need to be discussed but when people talk to me they’re talking about tax, or crime, or getting a doctor’s appointment - we need to be more responsive.

“I don’t think it’s about moving one direction or another; we’ve got to build that broad church.”

Ms Jones, the current chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners is set to launch ReBuild in Westminster in the coming weeks alongside her Conservative colleagues.

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