Nigel Farage is planning to attend the launch of Liz Truss’s new “Popular Conservatism” project this week, as the former prime minister attempts to rally right-wing Tory MPs.
The former Ukip leader is said to be one of hundreds of guests planning to attend the conference in London and will join Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and former Tory deputy chair Lee Anderson, who will be speaking at the event.
The PopCon movement is Ms Truss’s latest project since she was forced out of Downing Street. It is a platform for right-wing MPs to push Rishi Sunak to adopt hardline policies on immigration and tax before this year’s general election.
Speaking 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.
Former business secretary Sir Jacob and Ms Truss will be the headline speakers at the PopCon launch.
The director of the group is Mark Littlewood, who ran the Institute for Economic Affairs think tank and was seen as the architect of many of Ms Truss’s policies.
The latest push by free-market right-wingers is also backed by former ministers in the Truss government Simon Clarke and Ranil Jayawardena.
It promises a “new movement aiming to restore democratic accountability to Britain” and deliver “popular” Tory policies.
The Independent understands that the group is aiming to help shape the next Conservative manifesto in the months ahead, as Mr Sunak and party chiefs prepare their election campaign for the second half of 2024.
Ms Truss’s latest association joins an extremely crowded field of Conservative groups and factions. It comes hot on the heels of gatherings by the so-called “five families” of the Tory right who tried to toughen up the Rwanda deportation bill.
The European Research Group joined dozens of MPs aligned with the New Conservatives, the Common Sense Group, the Northern Research Group and the Conservative Growth Group to plot amendments which ultimately failed.
Mr Farage’s attendance at the PopCon launch comes as he is expected to return to Reform UK, formerly the Brexit Party, as it seeks to fight the Tories in the general election.
Speculation has been mounting for months about Mr Farage’s return, which could add to the scale of the electoral challenge facing Mr Sunak.
His involvement would boost support for Reform among voters across the country concerned about high levels of immigration, and risks splitting the Conservative vote in dozens of Tory seats.