Former British prime minister Liz Truss has launched a new movement dubbed Popular Conservatives – or Pop Cons – in a bid to rally right-wing Tory MPs ahead of a general election this year.
Ms Truss addressed a central London event alongside ex-Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lee Anderson, who recently quit as deputy Tory chairman over the Rwanda Bill.
The grouping aims to pile pressure on current British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to cut taxes, to adopt hardline policies on immigration and leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Mr Rees-Mogg declared that the “age of Davos man is over”, and Mr Anderson used his speech to argue that Britons did not care about the net-zero emissions strategy.
In her headline address, Ms Truss said ministers shied away from measures promoted by the PopCons because they “don’t want to be unpopular”.
“The irony is that these policies are popular,” she said.
People wanted to see lower immigration and wanted illegal immigrants deported, she said, but ministers’ efforts were “constantly being stymied”.
“I believe the fundamental issue is that for year and years and years … Conservatives have not taken on the left-wing extremists,” she said.
Ms Truss said the ideology of leftists disguising themselves as environmentalists was about “taking power away from families and giving it to the state and unelected bodies”.
She hit out at the Government for allowing people to choose their gender and for “pandering to the anti-capitalists”, while ordinary people believed “the wokery that is going on is nonsense”.
The short-lived former premier said the movement’s aims included “galvanising Conservative forces”.
“Britain is full of secret Conservatives – people who agree with us but don’t want to admit it because they think it’s not acceptable in their place of work, it’s not acceptable at their school,” she said.
Among those in the audience were former home secretary Priti Patel, ex-chief whip Wendy Morton, Brendan Clarke-Smith, Tory peer Lord Frost and Nigel Farage.
The PopCons’ leader Mark Littlewood said it “isn’t about the leadership of the Conservative Party” or seeking to “replicate or replace” any of the existing right-wing caucuses of Tory MPs, but tackling quangos and bureaucrats who “share the same sort of leftist groupthink” and are “sneering about ordinary people’s beliefs”.