Catholic MP, former faith minister in race to be next UK PM

Boris Johnson
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement outside 10 Downing Street in central London on July 7, 2022. – Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned as leader of the Conservative Party on Thursday, after three tumultuous years in office head scarred by Brexit negotiations, COVID-19 lockdowns and growing scandals. |

Tory lawmaker Tom Tugendhat, who is Catholic, and former Tory MP Kemi Badenoch, who describes himself as a ‘cultural Christian’, are among those standing to replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has announced his impending resignation last week.

“I am gathering a broad coalition of colleagues who will bring new energy and new ideas to the government,” Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote in an article for The Telegraph.

‘My view is clear – the Conservative Party must be a broad church in which everyone can find a place, whether young or old, north or south, tenant or landlord,’ writes the MP for Tonbridge and Malling. “We must show leadership and belief in our Conservative values ​​and their ability to enrich lives in all parts of the country. »

In November 2017, Tugendhat, who studied Christian and Islamic theology, appealed to Johnson on behalf of British-Iranian mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who was being held in an Iranian prison on the false charge of plotting to overthrow the government. Iranian, Premier Christian News noted.

Tugendhat had urged Johnson to ask Britain’s Anglican or Catholic Church leaders to negotiate his release at the time. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was finally released in March this year, as reported by The Christian Post.

During a debate on the EU referendum and Catholic values ​​in 2016, Tugendhat urged worshipers not to lose sight of the beliefs that unite citizens ahead of the Remain versus Leave vote which was later won by supporters of Brexit.

The deputy previously served in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and as a military aide to the chief of the defense staff, according to his biography on the St. Augustine’s College of Theology website. “When the Iraq War broke out in 2003, Tom was drafted as an Arabic-speaking intelligence officer to serve in the Royal Marines.”

Tugendhat also traveled to Beirut as a journalist where he wrote about the conflict as well as regional politics and economics.

Badenoch, the former MP for Saffron Walden, who grew up in Nigeria and once worked at McDonald’s while studying for her A-levels at school, also announced her candidacy in an article for The Sunday Times.

“I am running in this leadership election because I want to tell the truth. It is the truth that will set us free,” wrote the former minister for local government, faith and communities, who has notably served as the government liaison for the country’s religious leaders.

“The mainstream right has too often detached itself from its electoral base and, rather than seeking to understand the new challenges facing voters, has ignored them, leading to electoral failure and paving the way for desperation populism. . We cannot allow that to happen here,” the 42-year-old politician added.

“We need a strong but limited government, focused on the essentials,” she wrote. “Lower taxes yes, but to stimulate growth and productivity, and accompanied by strict spending discipline.

Badenoch’s maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister and his paternal grandfather was a Muslim who converted later in life, according to a 2017 interview with Conservative Home.

She is married to Hamish Badenoch, who is Catholic, and they have two children together.

“My family is more Anglican and Methodist. My maternal grandfather was a Methodist Reverend,” she said in the interview. “…I am an honorary or associate member of the Catholic Church…I am truly agnostic, but I was brought up with Christian cultural values.”

She also said, “I’m not really on the left, I lean on anything.”

In May, the Prime Minister’s sister, journalist Rachel Johnson, interviewed Badenoch on her ‘Difficult Women’ podcast where she was described as having a ‘dreadful reputation as a woman of color who takes a machete to the narrative of victimhood’. according to its sex, color or class. Badenoch, who was already being talked about as future prime minister, spoke about the issue of racism in the perspective of growing up in Nigeria and why she fights against wokeism and movements that seek to dismantle society.

In March, Badenoch joined London church leaders in a protest at London’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral to express support for the Ukrainian people and the role the Christian church can play in welcoming incoming Ukrainians. in the UK at the time.

“Since the beginning of the conflict, the people of this country have been impressed by the determination and courage shown by the Ukrainians,” she said, according to a government press release. “It has sparked an outpouring of support across the UK with people across the country donating to help the humanitarian effort and attending vigils to show their solidarity.”

She added, “As always, the church and other faith communities have been at the heart of these humanitarian efforts, and I stand with faith leaders in calling for peace and offering our full support.”

The field of Tories vying to be chosen as the next Prime Minister is packed, with former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Attorney General Suella Braverman, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who have also previously served as home secretary, chancellor and other government departments among the long list of names entering the race.

At 5 p.m. local time on Monday, the 1922 Committee will publish a timetable for Conservative Party ministers to vote on who will be the next prime minister. The UK is expected to have a new Prime Minister in early September, ahead of the first Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament.

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