The inauguration of the Popular Conservatism movement, spearheaded by former Prime Minister Liz Truss, has ignited a flurry of attention, marked by a series of eyebrow-raising statements from its proponents.
The gathering, held in Westminster, showcased prominent figures from the right-wing spectrum of the Tory party, including former business secretary Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, ex-deputy chairman Lee Anderson, and erstwhile Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. With a focus on advocating for a smaller state, reduced taxes, and a firmer stance on immigration, the event aimed to galvanize support for what Truss described as a new Tory “family” capable of resonating with and uniting the public.
Despite assertions that the movement is not a direct challenge to current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s leadership, its agenda sends a clear message of intent, urging for policy shifts on various fronts, including taxation, immigration, and human rights legislation.
Among the most striking revelations from the event are:
- Truss’s Social Exclusion: Truss made waves by admitting her absence from the inner circles of political socialization, lamenting her exclusion from what she termed as London’s elite dinner parties. In a scathing critique, she condemned colleagues more preoccupied with post-parliamentary career prospects than with genuine public service.
- Accusations of Extremism: Truss sparked controversy by labeling supporters of LGBT rights and ethnic minority groups as “left-wing extremists,” alongside denunciations of “woke-ism” and environmental activism. Her assertions underscored a sharp ideological divide within the party.
- Speaker Absences: Notably, only half of the initially slated speakers, including Truss and Rees-Mogg, actually attended the event. The absence of figures like former cabinet minister Ranil Jayawardena and Simon Clarke raised questions about internal cohesion within the movement.
- Mary Poppins Analogy: Rising Tory figure Mhairi Fraser drew parallels between state intervention and the character of Mary Poppins, equating Covid lockdown measures to an overbearing nanny figure.
- Claims of Silent Support: Truss suggested a silent majority of “secret Conservatives” permeating British society, aligning with her vision but hesitant to publicly acknowledge it, signaling a perceived ideological undercurrent in the populace.
- Dismissal of Climate Concerns: Anderson dismissed the significance of net-zero initiatives, branding them as inconsequential to the average voter and deriding proponents as “odd weirdos.”
- Rejection of International Bodies: Rees-Mogg launched a scathing critique of international organizations such as the European Court of Human Rights and the World Health Organization, advocating for a restoration of national sovereignty and democratic accountability.