Liz Truss 'PopCons' comeback: Former PM says Britain is full of "secret Conservatives" at new group launch

6 February 2024, 14:21 | Updated: 6 February 2024, 14:33

Liz Truss launching the Popular conservative group
Liz Truss launching the Popular conservative group. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Liz Truss has hit out at Rishi Sunak's Government for failing to take on "left-wing extremists" she said had gained control of UK institutions, as she argued the new Popular Conservatism movement must galvanise Britain's many "secret" Conservatives.

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The former prime minister warned there was a "damaging divide" between politicians and ordinary people who "think the wokery that's going on is nonsense".

She was speaking at the launch rally of the new faction - dubbed the PopCons in Westminster - in central London on Tuesday.

The event also featured former Cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, who declared that the "age of Davos man is over", and ex-Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson, who used his speech to argue that Britons did not care about the net-zero emissions strategy.

Liz Truss arriving at the launch in London
Liz Truss arriving at the launch in London. Picture: Alamy

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The grouping aims to pile pressure on the Prime Minister to cut taxes, to adopt hardline policies on immigration and leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

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".

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Truss said the left had “repurposed” themselves as environmentalists, LGBT+ rights advocates and anti-racism campaigners to avoid detection.

“They don’t admit they are socialists or communists anymore,” she said. “It’s all about taking power way from people and families and giving power to the state.

“The problem is the Conservatives had tried to appease these people. We have tried to triangulate.

“For years and years and years - it goes back two decades - Conservatives have not taken-on the left wing extremists.”

Former prime minister Liz Truss is bid to rally right-wing Tory MPs ahead of the general election
Former prime minister Liz Truss is bid to rally right-wing Tory MPs ahead of the general election. Picture: Alamy

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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".