PopCon: Liz Truss to launch group ‘demonstrating’ the popularity of right-wing policies

A string of senior MPs will attend the launch of the new Liz Truss-backed “Popular Conservatism” (PopCon) group today. 

The Popular Conservatives are the latest in a long line of Conservative backbench caucuses which aim to push the party to the right until and beyond the next general election.

Former prime minister Liz Truss, ex-cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees Mogg and erstwhile deputy chair of the Conservative party Lee Anderson are all expected to be in attendance and make speeches. 

Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, is also reported to be one of hundreds of guests planning to attend the conference in London. 

Speaking recently to The Sunday Telegraph, the arch-Brexiteer said he was “very interested” in the event, which he is attending in his capacity as a GB News presenter.

Mark Littlewood, the right-wing political figure who is spearheading the movement behind the scenes, has said “PopCon” will seek to promote a brand of Conservative politics focussed on “freedom”.

Writing in the Telegraph this week, Littlewood, who was formerly general director of libertarian think tank Institute for Economic Affairs, said: “It’s time to give people their freedom back – that was what Brexit was supposed to be about: taking back control”.

He added: “Conservatives want power transferred to families, communities, businesses and individuals, instead – but the institutional infrastructure that has grown up in the past two or three decades mitigates against that. …

“This is why I am launching a new grassroots movement of Popular Conservatism this week, alongside senior Conservative MPs and some newly selected candidates. PopCon’s mission is twofold: first, to inform and educate candidates and MPs about the need to reform Britain’s bureaucratic structures to allow Conservatives values to flourish. And second, to advance these policies across the country, whilst demonstrating their popularity”.

The piece also called on the prime minister to scrap the Equalities Act, pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights to crackdown on small boat migrant numbers and cut taxes.

However, ahead of “PopCon’s” launch today, a prominent Liz Truss ally has publicly dropped out of the event, calling on his colleagues to “stick to the plan” under Rishi Sunak.

Ranil Jayawardena, the former environment secretary, was scheduled to speak alongside the former prime minister in Central London on Tuesday.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday evening, Jayawardena said: “We’ve made progress, and we need to stick with the plan – to scrap the bureaucracy that’s held Britain back. Labour would take us back to square one.

“I won’t be there tomorrow. I’ll keep making the positive case for growth from the common ground of British politics.”

He is the latest MP to drop out of the event after former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke, who called on the prime minister to resign last month. 

Liz Truss’s latest group joins a crowded field of Conservative groups and factions, with the most prominent right-wing backbench caucuses — namely, the European Research Group, the Northern Research Group, the Common Sense Group, the New Conservatives and the Conservative Growth Group — said to make up the “five families” of party cliques. 

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