Until a couple of weeks ago, almost no one outside Government circles and her Essex constituency had heard of Kemi Badenoch.
Today, not only is she a household name with huge numbers of admirers on the Tory Right, she is also being taken seriously as a possible future party leader.
Most people think this contest has come too soon for her, and she is a long shot to reach the final two contenders. But she is already being tipped for a major Cabinet post in the next Government. It is easy to see why her ‘small state’, anti-woke platform is winning support.
She has become the poster girl for the culture wars and someone who does not shrink from confrontation, wading into arguments over race and radical trans-activism with the gusto of a political street fighter.
She also possesses an ability — rare among her fellow MPs and ministers — of speaking plainly. She certainly couldn’t have been clearer when, in 2018, she declared that trans women were ‘men using women’s bathrooms’.
And she was understandably proud in her most recent job as Equalities Minister when she announced that all new public buildings would have separate male and female toilets.
This same direct — some might call it blunt — approach has been equally visible on issues of race, notably when she described the concept of white privilege as ‘stoking divisions’ and ‘marginalising the disadvantaged’.
In a challenge to the Left, she argued that the solution to making the country fairer did not lie in the rhetoric of ‘decolonise this, tear down that’.
Refreshingly, she bridles, too, against trendy thinking that likes to paint British history as a long saga of wickedness.