UK’s Badenoch: ‘Fully supports’ PM Sunak, says rebel Tories harming party

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Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch said she “fully supports” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Tories speculating she could replace him as Conservative leader are only creating problems for a party facing a challenging election this year.

“A lot of people who are going around doing this are creating problems and difficulties that the party and more importantly the country does not need,” Badenoch told Sky News. “I fully support the prime minister.”

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The Tories are trailing the Labour Party by double digits in many opinion polls with time running out to close that gap before elec-tions that could be called in November. Recent polls showing a possible electoral wipeout for the Tories have piled more pressure on Sunak, with cabinet minister Simon Clarke last week openly calling for Sunak to quit to avoid a “catastrophe” at the election.

MPs plotting to oust the party leader and promoting her to take over “are not my friends,” Badenoch said.

“They need to stop messing around and get behind the leader,” she said in the Sky interview. “The fact of the matter is, most people in the country are not interested in all of this Westminster tittle-tattle.”

Polling from the website Conservative Home shows Badenoch is significantly more popular among members of the ruling party than Sunak. Badenoch said the party can’t afford to change leaders because of shifts in popularity.

“We can’t just keep treating prime ministers as if they’re disposable,” she said. “‘Oh, the polls aren’t doing so well. So let’s toss someone out and find another person.’ That’s quite wrong.”

Read more: PM Rishi Sunak makes election appeal for Britain to ‘stick with’ his plan

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