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Badenoch urges colleagues: We need to have dissent in a grown-up fashion

Kemi Badenoch at the Conservative Party conference (Jacob King/PA)
Kemi Badenoch at the Conservative Party conference (Jacob King/PA)

Kemi Badenoch has urged her colleagues to have dissent “in a grown-up fashion”, instead of rushing to the first TV studio when they have an issue with Government policy.

The International Trade Secretary took part in a question and answer session with GB News’ Liam Halligan on the main stage of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, where she spoke about the recent blue-on-blue attacks.

Asked how the party can communicate effectively the growth plan to the country, Ms Badenoch spoke about the need for “unity” and to “get behind the Prime Minister”.

She said that if people have problems with Government policy, there is a way of communicating dissent that does not involve “rushing to the first TV studio to let everybody know how angry you are”.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Michael Gove, who supported Ms Badenoch in the Tory leadership race, criticised parts of the mini-budget in a series of interviews, and arguably played a vital role in the 45p tax revolt.

The International Trade Secretary said: “As a party, we need to get behind the Prime Minister because if you don’t do that, then none of that…

“We need unity. And we need to be able to have dissent in a grown-up fashion.

“I think, when other people have problems with policy, I think there is a way of communicating it and not necessarily rushing to the first TV studio to let everybody know how angry you are.”

Conservative Party Conference 2022
Kemi Badenoch during the Conservative Party conference (Jacob King/PA)

Members of the audience broke into an applause, before she added: “Some of the people who have done this are my friends, but it is not helpful for the whole party.

“So, the party needs to come together. But we also need to remember who our real opponents are and that’s the Labour Party.”

During the session Ms Badenoch also spoke about how she intends to approach her new role as International Trade Secretary, saying she will do her best to make sure “the Conservative message around the economy is one that does not get lost in a lot of the media storms that we see”.

She also stressed the importance of exports and investment, saying: “I am trying to shift the Overton window of trade that we see beyond trade deals.

“Everyone thinks the Department of International Trade does trade deals. So trade deals are great, but they are not the only thing.

“Trade deals are like the motorway. It’s fantastic, you get them built, but if cars aren’t going back and forth, then you might as well not have built them.

“The going back and forth are exports and investments.”

On the trading relationship with the EU, Ms Badenoch said that just because the UK is not in the single market, “it doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do”.

She pointed to an investment partnership with Norway and “mini-trade deals” with US states.

“Even though the US is not doing any trade deals at the moment, we are able to have a memorandum of understanding with states.

“So, we can do mini-trade deals with the 50 states of the US,” she said.