Liz Truss to launch ‘Popular Conservatives’ faction of Tory MPs
Liz Truss is set to launch a new movement dubbed Popular Conservatives, or Pop Cons, on Tuesday in a bid to rally right-wing Tory MPs ahead of a general election this year.
The short-lived former prime minister is set to address the central London event alongside ex-Cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lee Anderson, who recently quit as deputy Tory chairman over the Rwanda Bill.
The grouping aims to pile pressure on Rishi Sunak to cut taxes, to adopt hardline policies on immigration and leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Headline speaker Sir Jacob will rail against an “activist judiciary” and an “out-of-touch oligarchy” in his remarks to the gathering.
He is expected to say: “Domestically, we have seen power go from the democratic parts of the constitution to the appointed parts. This has made the government less responsive to the needs of the people and closer to those who have a hierarchical, internationalist view of government.
“Popular conservatism is about restoring this balance and returning power to Parliament while taking it away from quangos and a judiciary that has become more political.”
The former business secretary will say that the UK system, with the apex of power being the King in Parliament, has been “eroded in recent years by an activist judiciary exemplified by the living document theory of the ECHR”.
Hardline Tory MPs have demanded the UK dismiss the ECHR amid concerns European judges could scupper the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda after a last-minute injunction by the Strasbourg court effectively grounded the first flight in 2022.
Sir Jacob denied the grouping is seeking to oust Mr Sunak, who has failed to overturn Labour’s significant poll lead.
He told The Westminster Hour: “We have this habit of changing leader too often which I think has been a mistake and is why I am very keen that we stick to our current leader because changing again would make us look utterly ridiculous.”
Sir Jacob said he would like to see Nigel Farage join the Conservative Party.
The founder of Reform UK is said to be planning to attend the launch in his role as a GB News presenter, amid ongoing speculation over whether he might join the Tory party.
Sir Jacob also dismissed claims the new grouping is a vehicle for the rehabilitation of Ms Truss, who was forced to quit as prime minister after just 44 days in No 10 which saw a botched financial statement unleash economic chaos.
Since stepping down, Ms Truss has continued to promote her tax-slashing, small-government brand of conservatism.
While that continues to enjoy support among some in the Conservative Party, polling published on Monday suggested she is the least popular politician with the general public.
A survey by Savanta indicated her net favorability score is minus 54%, compared to Mr Sunak’s minus 27%.
Truss ally Mark Littlewood, the outgoing head of the libertarian think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs – who is behind the new movement, wrote in The Telegraph: “It is up to the Conservatives to make the case for economic freedom and lower taxes.”
The Pop Cons join an already crowded field of right-wing Conservative factions, including the Brexiteer European Research Group, the New Conservatives and Common Sense Group.
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