Could Kemi Badenoch robustly champion the British dream? - asks Darren Grimes

I’ll never not be grateful to Boris Johnson for ensuring our votes for Brexit were respected and Corbynism was roundly defeated

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I’ve found the last week to be quite a sad affair.

I campaigned alongside Boris Johnson in 2016 and campaigned for him in 2019. I’m proud to have done so; in 2016, watching a packed room in Newcastle give an old Etonian Tory a standing ovation was incredible. Watching constituencies that had voted Labour for their entire existence back Boris for the first time was even more so impressive.

I’ll never not be grateful to him for ensuring our votes for Brexit were respected, and Corbynism, offering succour and support to anything anti-British, was roundly defeated.

But, we are where we are. Boris is out, and a new leader must be elected. Ultimately, I care about my country and the conservation of its values, heritage, freedoms and economy. If the Conservative Party is the best vehicle to defend those things, then happy days.

But the Conservative Party has presided over an expansion of the state that we haven’t seen during peacetime; we now have a public that believes, as it did during the pandemic, a Government can do more, spend more and, as a consequence, take more.

The Conservative platform cannot exist solely as a more moderate Labour or Green Party. It used to be the party of personal responsibility, individual freedom and an understanding that you’ll spend your money better than the government.

It is a government that presides over energy insecurity to appease those who glue themselves to our roads and works of art, blocking traffic and preventing progress in a country that emits only 1 per cent of global CO2 emissions. It presides over the Online Harms Bill that seeks to embolden those who are offended online. Rishi Sunak became this century's most successful socialist chancellor through tax raising and spending sprees.

So is all lost? Will Sir Beer Korma, having survived police investigation into beergate - a man so wooden that he makes Pinnochio look agile and Sir John Major interesting - will he now glide to Number 10 in the next election?

Kemi Badenoch is one of those running for the Tory leadership who has caught my eye.

I first met Kemi when she was a Tory member of the London assembly. Now an MP for Saffron Walden in Essex and originally from Nigeria, Kemi is somebody that came here because she loves our way of life and can see how much many of us take it for granted.

Fraser Nelson, the editor of The Spectator magazine, Kemi’s former employer, said that she was wondering what took the magazine so long to declare for Brexit? She couldn’t understand why the greatest country in the world had so many in it that thought so little of it, so much so that they’d allow it to be swallowed up by European conglomerate.

In the London Assembly, she was a thorn in the side of the identity-first Left, and she’s been met by constant attrition of abuse because she dares be a black woman that doesn’t view being black as being a victim and certainly doesn’t view being black and British as a problem, far from it. And she dares to be a woman that recognises the importance of removing ideology from the debate around sex and gender.

We hear nothing of the British dream. The British dream of a country where your sex, sexuality, skin colour, class and whatever else doesn’t mean a damn, in which we do away with divisive identity politics, and you can succeed in life exclusively on hard work and merit.

Could Kemi Badenoch robustly champion that dream?

Far too many in the modern Conservative Party sit on the fence. They shrug their shoulders at the dispatch box and announce that trans women are women as gender ideology marches through our schools. They shrug their shoulders as the current communications chief to the Prime Minister takes the knee on live television as the racist idea of ‘white privilege’ is propagated in our schools. They shrug their shoulders as children leave school to nightmare scenarios of drowning or burning thanks to climate change.

Candidates like Kemi Badenoch give me hope that all isn’t lost and that we can thwart this drift to a more divided, unequal and less free Britain.