NIGERIAN-born member of Parliament for the Essex constituency of Saffron Walden Olukemi Olufunto Badenoch has been appointed as Britain’s new minister for children and families by prime minister Boris Johnson.
Ms Badenoch, 39, was born in Wimbledon, London to Nigerian parents and has been MP for Saffron Walden since 2017. Her childhood was spent in Lagos and the US but she then returned to the UK at the age of 16 and later joined the Conservative Party, who she eventually stood for in elections.
She once told MPs in Parliament about her own experiences of poverty and how she used to do her homework by candlelight while in Nigeria. A software and IT engineer, Ms Badenoch studied systems engineering at Sussex University and also has a law degree.
Among other things, she has worked in the banking sector for Coutts and RBS and is a mother of two. In her 2017 maiden speech as MP, Ms Badenoch, the daughter of a GP and a physiology professor, described the vote for Brexit as the greatest ever vote of confidence in the project of the United Kingdom.
Ms Badenoch said: “Thank you for all good wishes and kind messages of support received. I also look forward to working not just with Conservatives colleagues but cross-party too.”
In her new role, Ms Badenoch’s responsibilities will include early years policy, involving inspection and regulation. Her portfolio covers the delivery of 30 hours free childcare offer, special educational needs including high needs funding, safeguarding in schools and disadvantaged pupils, including pupil premium and pupil premium plus.