As rumours continue to swirl about who will make a bid for the Tory leadership, Suella Braverman has been on manoeuvres in Washington. The former home secretary’s speech at the National Conservatism conference in the US constituted a rather scathing attack on her own party, and has ruffled feathers across the political spectrum.

In a speech considered to be part of her leadership bid, Braverman refused to pull any punches. Slamming equality and diversity training, the ex-cabinet minister told her crowd that:

We Tory ministers, nominally in charge of the system, completely failed. The Progress flag flew over our buildings as if they were occupied territory… I wanted to scrap the unconscious bias training which basically taught people how bad and racist Britain was. I was told that “I was on the wrong side of history” by my senior civil servant. I don’t say this to boast or curry favour with you as an audience, but to starkly confess my failure: I couldn’t even get the flag of a horrible political campaign I disagreed with taken down from the roof of the government department I was supposed to be in charge of.

Goodness. Blaming ‘other Tory politicians’, Braverman continued to blast the ‘Progress flag’, adding:

The Progress flag says one monstrous thing to me: that I was a member of a government that presided over the mutilation of children in our hospitals. We Tories, right through our smoking ruin of a general election campaign, claimed that we were doing something about Trans fanatics. When in fact what we did was let it happen. I am too physically repulsed to go into what “it” is. But it is something that the true grown-ups in any civilised society should NEVER have allowed to happen to their or anyone else’s children.

Clearly marking out her territory on identity politics, Braverman’s speech hasn’t gone down well with everyone. Political commentator and one-time prospective Tory candidate Iain Dale has labelled it a ‘disgusting speech’, calling for ‘moderate Conservatives’ to ‘stand up and be counted’. Meanwhile Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon tweeted that ‘every word’ was chosen to ‘deliberately stoke fear and division’. And Braverman suffered a blow to any potential leadership campaign on Monday, when reports emerged that former backer Danny Kruger would support Robert Jenrick instead.

No one has made a formal bid yet, and former business secretary Kevin Hollinrake suggested the process might not be speedy, adding: ‘I don’t think there is any rush.’ Will Braverman’s speech endear her to the membership or turn voters off? Watch this space…

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