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Wed, 22 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
Defence
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Liz Truss Is Trying To Shore Up Support With Prospective Tory MPs

Former prime minister Liz Truss (Alamy)

2 min read

Former prime minister Liz Truss has been inviting Tory general election candidates to meet her as she looks to play a key role in influencing the direction of the party following the next general election.

One candidate who has received this offer from the erstwhile Conservative party leader said they believed Truss wanted to ascertain whether they were "one of us" who shared her brand of politics.

In October 2022, Truss was forced to resign as prime minister after just a few weeks in No 10 when swathes of Conservative MPs reacted furiously to her calamitous mini-budget.

Her plan to implement sweeping tax cuts triggered panic in the financial markets, which in turn caused interest rates to rise and is estimated to have cost the UK economy many billions of pounds.

Since then the Tory MP for South West Norfolk, who has held a number of cabinet roles, has sought to remain an influential figure within Conservative party politics.

She has continued to publicly make the case for what she describes as pro-growth policies including major tax cuts and reducing red tape, and last month was the headline speaker at the launch of a new right-wing movement called Popular Conservatism.

As well as a tax-cutting economic regime, the group also known as PopCon aims to push a right-wing agenda on issues like immigration, climate change and so-called "woke" politics. Other speakers at the Westminster launch last month included Conservative MP Jacob Rees Mogg and Lee Anderson, who on Monday defected from the Tories to Reform.

Tory sources say Truss is keen to play an influential role in deciding the next Conservative leader in the event that the party loses to the next general election to Labour. The most recent Sky News opinion poll tracker gave Labour an average lead of 20 per cent over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Tories.

As part of Truss's attempts to bolster her longterm influence on the party, the former prime minister has been reaching out to Tories who have recently been chosen to fight constituencies where the party is expected to hold in the face of Labour's large, double-digit poll leads, PoliticsHome understands. 

Truss having an eye on the profiles of future Tory MPs further suggests she wants to be a power broker if the next election is followed by a contest to succeed Sunak as leader.

While it is believed that Truss currently does not plan to run for the leadership again, Conservative MPs believe she may decide to throw her weight behind another figure on the right of the parliamentary party, like the former home secretary Priti Patel.

Truss's spokesperson declined to comment.

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