“When I resigned from my position as Minister for Levelling Up last week, I did not do so lightly.
“Among the many challenges facing our great country, the weakness in too many parts of our economy is one of the most crucial, but toughest, to fix.“I loved working to solve these longstanding problems and to repay the trust of voters who for the first time chose us in 2019.“Alongside me throughout my time in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities right to the very end, co-signing my letter of resignation was a colleague who is the antidote to these problems.“Kemi Badenoch understands better than most the challenges facing the United Kingdom and its many different communities.“She has the plan and ability to overcome them, and crucially, values the truth above all else.“When working with Kemi, I was consistently impressed by her mastery of and attention to the detail, and her strong and calm judgement on all manner of things across her brief.“I was also impressed by her principles, staunch and fair, that guided her thinking instead of being themselves guided by the current climate - particularly on all issues of culture, race and gender.
“When the worst and most extreme elements of the Labour left were screaming at her at the despatch box, Kemi was always calm, eloquent and effective at winning these key arguments.“Kemi understands the greatness that our country represents, sees the things that many of us take for granted and appreciates what the UK has to offer.“She sees the Great in Britain, in our culture and our shared values of freedom, fairness, community and family.
“She is not afraid to be proud of her nation and will defend it and its record to the hilt.“But this does not mean that she is blind or oblivious to the challenges that we and much of our society is facing.
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“On the contrary, she understands better than most the severe need for all of our communities to share in our economic growth, and that what voters want is to be treated with respect by the Government, not coddled and misled.
“Her values, life experience, and talent made her an excellent Minister, and I know will make her a fantastic leader.
“She consistently impressed me in the department with how capable she was at making things actually change in Whitehall, often far easier said than done.
“Where many choose to just sound off about their problems, Kemi would be able to actually do something about them.
“We need someone with these skills calling the shots.“What is also required in a leader is not just intelligence but the ability - and willingness - to hear both sides of an argument without rushing to judgement or being biased in either direction, another rare skill.“It is this ability that will help her to unite the party, and appeal to a very broad range of people.
“She will always listen to the arguments, take on board the facts, and set a clear course, all the while communicating the why in a straight, and honest way.”