The man Liz Truss sacked as chancellor has announced he is leaving parliament, undermining his old boss’s launch of a new right-wing Tory faction.

Kwasi Kwarteng, who oversaw Ms Truss’s disastrous mini-budget in 2022, said he would step down as MP for Spelthorne in Surrey at the election, a seat he has held since 2010.

His announcement came just hours before Ms Truss was due at the launch of her Popular Conservative group - dubbed the PopCons at Westminster.

Ms Truss sacked Mr Kwarteng after  he spent just 38 days at the Treasury  - a decision he learned about on Twitter after being recalled to the UK from Washington DC

It followed his mini-budget causing market turmoil and a surge in interest rates because of unfunded tax cuts he and his successor Jeremy Hunt had to drop.

Mr Kwarteng's exit was a reminder of the chaos during Ms Truss’s 49 days at No10 and suggested a lack of belief in the Tories under Rishi Sunak winning the general election.

The launch of the PopCons also highlighted splits within the Tories at Westminster, despite the Prime Minister repeatedly warning his MPs that voters reject divided parties.

As well as his predecessor, the faction includes former Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson, who recently quit his party role in a disagreement over the Rwandan asylum policy.

The right-wing grouping is trying to push the PM to cut taxes, adopt hardline policies on immigration and leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Reform UK founder Nigel Farage attended the event, saying it was partly because he was covering it for GB News, not because he wanted to join the Tories “at the moment”.

He told PA: “I’m motivated and interested by ideas. That’s why I was in Ukip and not the Conservative Party. I suspect I would agree with a lot of what is said on the platform this morning, but none of it is going to be Conservative manifesto policy.

“And that’s really the point here. Whilst there were some big names like Liz Truss, Jacob Rees-Mogg – I saw Priti Patel coming into the audience earlier – they are a very small minority within the parliamentary Conservative Party.”

He added: “I’m not looking to join the Tory party, you must be joking. Not at the moment, given what they stand for. And as far as this group’s concerned, I’d rather be part of Reform because that’s the real thing.”

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The PopCons’ leader, Mark Littlewood, a close ally of Ms Truss, said the group wanted to influence the Tory manifesto at the general election.

He kicked off the launch by blaming “quangos and bureaucrats” hampering Tory aims.

Despite many of those involved being unhappy with Mr Sunak, he told an audience in Westminster’s Emmanuel Centre: “This isn’t about the leadership of the Conservative Party.”

It was not about seeking to “replicate or replace” any of the existing right-wing caucuses of Tory MPs, he continued, but would be a “genuinely grassroots movement”.

Many of the Conservative aims such as low taxes have proven to be “frustratingly elusive”, he said, saying a “hostile” institutional framework was against achieving those goals.

The PopCons aimed to tackle quangos and bureaucrats who “share the same sort of leftist groupthink” and were “sneering about ordinary people’s beliefs”, he said.

The Herald:

Former cabinet minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg also spoke at the event, where he criticised an “activist judiciary” and an “out-of-touch oligarchy”.

Declaring the “age of Davos man is over”, the multi-millionaire Old Etonian said voters had had enough “of international cabals and quangos telling hundreds of millions of people how to lead their lives”.

The North East Somerset MP said bodies such as the World Health Organisation and Cop climate summit “limit our freedom for manoeuvre”.

“We have to restore power to our democratic institutions and take it away from those that seek to override democracy,” Sir Jacob told the event.

Judges are tied to the “international elite”, and “unaccountable, unelected” quangos are “plugged into EU lawmaking,” he said.

“We need to re-establish the traditional relationship between the judiciary and Parliament. Ideally, we should bring it back into Parliament.”

The former business secretary argued the UK system, with the apex of power being the King in Parliament, has been “eroded in recent years by an activist judiciary exemplified by the living document theory of the ECHR”.

Sir Jacob denied the grouping was seeking to oust Mr Sunak, who has failed to overturn Labour’s significant poll lead.

But he has said he would like to see Mr Farage join the Conservative Party.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride suggested the Popular Conservatives launch was a sign of the “broad church” within the party, rather than open division.

He told GB News: “The Conservative Party is a very broad church, there are lots of ideas and I think it’s important that the different parts of the party do come together and ventilate different views as to how we best move forward as a political party.

“We’ve always been adapting through history. That’s why we’re one of the longest-living and most successful political parties in the world. So I welcome all of this kind of debate.”

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Green MSP Maggie Chapman  said : “Kwasi Kwarteng stepping down is long overdue. He did an immense amount of damage in a very short time, and we’re all still paying for his failings. It shows how worried the Tories are when even he is abandoning the sinking ship.

“He was the worst Chancellor in UK history, and it would have been good to see the electorate booting him out of Westminster. 

“It’s telling that he would rather leave on his own terms rather than facing the indignity of the impending wipe out.

"His will undoubtedly be only the first in a run of fearful Tory MPs who will quit in the weeks and months ahead as they face political oblivion.

"The sooner the Prime Minister calls a General Election to speed up their departure, the better.”