Liz Truss and Jacob Rees-Mogg attack ‘left-wing extremists’ and ‘Davos man’ at launch of new Tory group – UK politics live | Politics
Former prime minister Liz Truss has told the PopCons event in London that Britons want to see lower immigration and want illegal immigrants deported, but that ministers’ efforts are “constantly being stymied”, and that “Conservatives have not taken on the left-wing extremists.”
Saying that for two decades Tories had tried to “appease these people”, and also argued that ministers have “responsibility without having power”, because of institutions having greater sway.
“I’m afraid we have not taken on the left enough” she said.
She claimed the ideology of leftists disguising themselves as environmentalists is about “taking power away from families and giving it to the state and unelected bodies” and is drowning out the need for cheaper energy, and hit out at the government for “pandering to the anti-capitalists”, while ordinary people believe “the wokery that is going on is nonsense”. She said “wokeism seems to be on the curriculum” in schools.
Truss, who became prime minister after being appointed by the Conservative party as leader, said “We need to restore faith in democracy and we can only do that by restoring democratic accountability”.
She said “the left have been on the march” in UK institutions, in the corporate world and globally, but “Britain is full of secret Conservative forces” of people who are ashamed to admit their values, and that the PopCons group must rally them.
According to a snap poll by YouGov, almost three quarters of people (72%) think it was unacceptable for Rishi Sunak to accept a £1,000 bet on the success of his Rwanda policy. Only 14% of people think that was acceptable, the poll suggests.
A reader asks:
Would there be a list of all of the Tory MPs that are gathered under this PopCon group? I can’t really find any reference to it online but it’d be interesting to see who exactly these MPs are supposedly representing with their extreme views.
They have not published a list of MP supporters, and their website is little more than a sign up platform. But Beth Rigby from Sky News posted this list of Tory MPs she spotted at the launch.
Launch of the PopCons, lots of MPs here including Liz Truss, Jacob Rees Mpgg, Lee Anderson, Andrea Jenkyns, Priti Patel, Wendy Morton, Alec Shellbrooke, David Jones
Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, has said the government will examine proposals for a memorial to honour thousands of Muslims who served with Britain and its allies during the two World Wars.
As PA Media reports, the World Wars Muslim Memorial Trust registered in 2016 and seeks to honour those Muslim soldiers from the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and North Africa who were involved in the two global conflicts. It would also honour Muslim personnel from the UK who have died in combat in recent times.
During Treasury questions, the former cabinet minister Sir Sajid Javid said the trust wanted “a memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum honouring an estimated 750,000 Muslims that have fought for British armed forces, with tens of thousands of them paying the ultimate sacrifice”.
Pointing out that previous budgets have included funding for memorials, he asked Hunt to back the plan.
Hunt said Javid was right. He went on:
We must remember and honour the sacrifices made by those of all nationalities and religions who fought for our freedom, including I believe nearly 150,000 Muslims who died in the Second World War.
My officials will be happy to engage with him to identify how best the government can help make this vision a reality.
Governement departments are still holding back too much official data, MPs have been told.
Ed Humpherson, head of the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), made this argument as he gave evidence to the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee.
He said that although official statistics are routinely published, making the data used to inform policy making was not yet “the norm” – either because officials deciding that releasing the information did not fit in with their communications strategy, or because they just forgot.
But he said the culture was gradually changing. He explained:
I think of this as being like a garden on a bright morning where the shadow is gradually retreating and the sunlight is gradually coming across.
We have got the sunlight on official statistics. We are gradually moving into that space for government statements being supported and I would love that sunlight to extend into further parts of analysis as well.
Humpherson said there was a “risk” in policy making if data was not being openly assessed. He went on:
The thing I am concerned about is that whenever we talk senior officials about this, we call it intelligent transparency, we get sign-up from senior officials, permanent secretaries who absolutely endorse and recognise it.
What we then find is cases where, in a specific moment, a particular department concludes that it is not in its communications interests, or they forget to make the underlying data available.
So I would really want to see those commitments that we hear from senior officials being much more publicly made, and much more embedded in their practices and processes.
Rishi Sunak has had a meeting with Britons who have relatives still held hostage by Hamas. He posted this on X.
To have a loved one taken hostage by terrorists is an unthinkable horror.
Today I met again with British families still going through that harrowing ordeal.
We will continue to do all we can to bring hostages held by Hamas in Gaza safely home.
Stormont has sent a clear, unified call to the government for fair funding for Northern Ireland, first minister Michelle O’Neill said. PA Media reports:
The Stormont parties united this morning to call on prime minister Rishi Sunak to give Northern Ireland the “resources that it needs to deliver effective public services”.
The motion was passed unanimously following a debate in the chamber.
An amendment by the opposition SDLP calling on finance minister Caoimhe Archibald to work with ministers to produce costed plans for immediate priorities was also passed.
The motion passed unanimously said the assembly “endorses the letter sent to Prime Minister Sunak by all executive ministers calling for our public finances to be placed on a sustainable footing and for the executive to have the resources that it needs to deliver effective public services”.
Liz Truss, the former prime minister, has given an interview to GB News in which has restated her belief that Conservatives have not been able to achieve everything they wanted to because Britain is too leftwing.
Describing the philosophy behind her new group, Popular Conservatism, she said:
We’ve had a Conservative government for 14 years and we’ve achieved many things, including Brexit trade deals, keeping Jeremy Corbyn out of office.
But one of the problems we have, even though we’ve got a Conservative government, is what we’re seeing in our schools, in our universities, in our corporate sector, the spreading of wokery and leftwing ideas.
What PopCon is about, is about combating that because the people of Britain want us to deal with real issues.
Immigration is too high. The government’s too big, taxes are too high. But what we constantly hear is the left. So PopCon is about challenging that, it is about challenging the leftwing orthodoxy and making it positive to be a Conservative.
Good afternoon. I’m Andrew Sparrow, picking up again from Martin.
Being out of the office this morning, I missed the Popular Conservatism (or PopCons) launch this morning. You can get the gist of it from the coverage here. (See 12.18pm and 12.26pm.) Lewis Goodall from the News Agents podcast has some good coverage on X too. Here are some of his posts.
Mark Littlewood opening “popcon”: “this is not about the leadership of the Conservative Party…we will position ourselves as a genuine grassroots movement.”
Littlewood says we’re not governed by our parliament but by a network of state organisations, bodies, left wing infrastructure. Says a complete overhaul of the state necessary. Littlewood is articulating a right wing Bennism focussed on the state rather than market.
Truss says democracy has become “unfashionable” among the young She may be confusing democracy with conservatism Truss says Britain is full of “secret conservatives”- again echoing Bennism. The voters are there really, they just have to be inspired with a true ideology.
Another feature of the launch that has not received much comment, as far as I can see, is the extent to which the Trussite right has split already. (Something else it has in common with Bennism.) At one point Sir Simon Clarke and Ranil Jayawardena were both due to speak. They both served in her cabinet, and were both close to her politically. But Clarke was dropped from the event after he launched a one-man bid to topple Rishi Sunak’s leadership and Jayawardena declared last night that he was not going be in a tweet implying he thought the PopCons were being too disloyal.
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.
So, that gives you three categories of Trussites: openly anti-Sunak (Clarke), ostensibly pro (Jayawardena) and somewhere-inbetween (Truss herself).
And there was a further split in evidence today. Kwasi Kwarteng used to be very close to Truss but, according to some reports, they stopped speaking to each other after she sacked him. Is it coincidence that he decide to announce that he is standing down from parliament on the same day PopCons was being launched by his publicity-hungry ex-boss?
It is opposition day in the Commons today and shadow Home Office minister Alex Norris has opened a debate on banning knives and swords from UK streets.
The motion “condemns the government for overseeing a 77% increase in knife crime since 2015”, and asks the government to extend recent measures “to cover ninja swords” and “to establish an end-to-end review of online knife sales and introduce criminal liability for senior management of websites which indirectly sell illegal knives online.”
We believe the government should introduce criminal sanctions on the tech executives who allow knife sales on their online market places.
Not just Ofcom sanctions as the government have opted for, but proper criminal sanctions to send a very serious message to these leaders that if their platforms are being used, and they are not actively making sure they are not being used for the sale of dangerous weapons, there are going to be serious consequences.
Regarding ninja swords, Norris said “We would broaden the ban to include a wider range of weapons and to toughen existing rules on serration and length. That would mean finally banning blades such as ninja swords … if knives and machetes are prohibited, these firms will just move on to pushing ninja swords at customers. This is a hole in the government’s plan and it must be plugged.”
MPs have criticised the government for not acting over the Horizon IT scandal through its representative on the Post Office board, with one calling it a “fatal flaw” in the way it handles the governance of companies over which it has oversight.
The head of UK Government Investments (UKGI) – the body responsible for managing the portfolio of wholly or partially state-owned companies such as NatWest and Channel 4 – admitted the Post Office board needed to be questioned over its lack of “curiosity” about the scandal, which resulted in wrongful prosecution of more than 900 subpostmasters.
The Treasury select committee questioned executives from UKGI, which maintains one representative on the Post Office’s 10-strong board, on Tuesday about why the government did not take action sooner given it had a shareholder representative with direct access to the governance and running of the company.
Keir Mather, the Labour MP for Selby and Ainsty, questioned whether the lack of action showed “insufficient robustness” by the Treasury-owned UKGI and whether the existence of a shareholder representative undermined the government’s argument that it “couldn’t exercise oversight” of the Post Office.
Read more of Mark Sweney’s report here: MP criticises ‘fatal flaw’ in government’s oversight of Post Office IT scandal