Liz Truss’s ‘PopCons’ comeback bid is hit by chaos as key Tory allies drop out

Liz Truss’ attempt to restart her political career with the launch of a new right-wing Tory faction was hit by chaos – as some of her closest former allies stayed away.

The launch event for Popular Conservatism – also known as PopCons – was rocked by former Truss chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s announcement that he would leave parliament at the general election.

Close aide to Truss, Sir Simon Clarke, was forced to leave the event following his call to replace Rishi Sunak – with Ms Truss keen not to appear too disloyal.

There was a further blow when Ranil Jayawardena, another key Truss ally and ex-Environment Minister in her short-lived government, decided to withdraw from the event at the last minute.

It came as Nigel Farage – a star guest at the PopCons launch – dismissed the new group by insisting that Mr Sunak completely ignore all their ideas.

Ms Truss hit out at Sunak’s government for failing to stand up to “the left-wing extremists” during her speech at the launch, attended by allies including Dame Priti Patel, Lee Anderson and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The former prime minister – who spent just six weeks in Number 10 before being disgraced by her own party – said Britons want to see less immigration and illegal immigrants deported, but efforts are “constantly stymied”.

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss at the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss at the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)

She also hit out at the Sunak government for allowing people to choose their gender and for “caving to the anti-capitalists” while ordinary people believe “the unrest going on is nonsense”.

Ms Truss also claimed that the ideology of leftists masquerading as environmentalists is about ‘taking power away from families and giving it to the state’.

Drawing on Donald Trump’s conspiratorial rhetoric, she said the left has “been on the rise” in institutions and the business world around the world.

As well as exposing a shadowy left-wing cabal, Ms Truss also claimed that Britain was “full of secret Conservatives”, saying there were plenty of people who “agree with us but don’t want to admit it because they don’t think it’s right”. so is”. acceptable in their workplace, in their school”.

Ms Truss also said she was never invited to dinner parties. “Too many of our colleagues look at what job they will get when they leave parliament, they want to be popular at dinner parties in London… I never get invited to these parties.”

But Mr Kwarteng – once Ms Truss’s best friend in politics – overshadowed Monday’s launch by revealing on X that he will stand down in his Surrey seat of Spelthorne.

The chancellor responsible for the mini-Budget debacle has fallen out with his former boss. She said she was “unfit” to ever be Prime Minister and would have “blown something up” even if they had survived the economic disaster caused by their unfunded tax cuts.

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg at the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg at the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg at the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)

Mark Littlewood, Ms Truss’s closest ally, the Popular Conservatism leader, insisted he was not interested in ousting Mr Sunak – claiming that “this is not about the leadership of the Conservative Party.”

The right-wing economist – who was named in the Truss resignation award – also said it was not about “replicating or replacing” the many existing right-wing factions of Tory MPs.

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg also launched an attack on “irresponsible” officials and courts as he tried to draw parallels with the anger of British voters and farmers’ protests in France and Germany.

In his keynote address, Sir Jacob said: “The era of the Davos man is over, of international cliques and quangos telling hundreds of millions of people how to live their lives.”

He also denounced an “activist judiciary” and an “excessive oligarchy” as he and other right-wingers push to abandon the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Fellow right-winger Lee Anderson used his speech to claim that only “strange lunatics” are concerned about reaching net zero in the fight against climate change.

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mhairi Fraser, Lee Anderson and Liz Truss (PA)Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mhairi Fraser, Lee Anderson and Liz Truss (PA)

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mhairi Fraser, Lee Anderson and Liz Truss (PA)

The former Tory deputy leader – who left office after rebelling against Sunak’s Rwanda Bill – claimed net zero is “never coming to our door” and urged the Prime Minister to clamp down on green levies to purchase.

Meanwhile, new right-wing favorite Mhairi Fraser, a potential Tory candidate, attacked Sunak’s “ridiculous” youth smoking ban and other “nanny state” policies.

Mr Farage was largely dismissive of the event – insisting he was only there to cover it for GB News – as he denied he was interested in joining the Conservative Party in the future.

“I have no intention of joining the Tory party,” said the president of Reform UK. “Not at the moment, given what they stand for. And as for this group, I would rather be part of Reform, because that’s the real deal.”

Nigel Farage listens to Tory speakers at the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)Nigel Farage listens to Tory speakers at the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)

Nigel Farage listens to Tory speakers at the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)

Mr Farage said none of the PopCons’ ideas will make it into the Tory manifesto, arguing that the party is now “so far from the center of gravity of most Conservative voters that it is almost untrue”.

Other senior Tories at the PopCons launch included staunch allies of Boris Johnson and leading Sunak critics such as Andrea Jenkyns and Lord David Frost – the peer thought to be behind a bid to get rid of the current prime minister.

Other right-wing attendees included Truss loyalists Sir Jake Berry, ex-Truss whip Wendy Morton, and new Tory deputy leader Brendan Clarke-Smith.

Polls published on Monday showed Ms Truss to be the least popular politician with the British public, despite her claim to be aware of ‘popular’ ideas. Her net favorability rating is minus 54 percent, compared to Mr Sunak’s minus 27 percent, a Savanta survey shows.

The mini-budget debacle, engineered by Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng, saw a collapse in the pound and a spike in interest rates as markets bet against Britain. The staggering episode cost the country £30 billion, according to the Resolution Foundation, and caused poor Tory polls to plummet further.

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