Even in a field as crowded as the one occupied by Conservative splinter groups, the PopCons stand out. They have a former Prime Minister in their ranks.

Admittedly, it’s Liz Truss, but even a seven-week premier brings a certain something the other factions fighting over the party’s direction can’t match. 

The Popular Conservatives have also attracted interest from Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader and Reform UK founder, who is pondering whether to join the Tory fold.

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“Not at the moment, given what they stand for,” he said as the group launched at Westminster’s Emmanuel Centre, leaving himself plenty of room to change his mind.

Also there were former Tory chair Sir Jake Berry, former deputy chair Lee Anderson, former business secretary Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, former Home Secretary Priti Patel, ex-chief whip Wendy Morton, and Tory peer Lord Frost. It was like the political wing of GB news.

There was a strong whiff of the Republican party paranoia seen in the United States.

Speakers spied enemies everywhere - lefties, elitists, sinister penpushers - who were thwarting infallible Tories' plans.

Sir Jacob declared “the age of Davos man is over” as he railed against “international cabals” telling millions of people how to live their lives.

Yet the PopCons appeared blind to their own weaknesses and the vivid impression they've made on the voters. 

The Herald:

The PopCons want lower cut taxes, hardline policies on immigration and for the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The group’s leader is Mark Littlewood, the outgoing head of the libertarian thinktank the Institute of Economic Affairs and a friend of Ms Truss since their university days.

She nominated him for a peerage but the House of Lords gatekeepers blocked it.

Ms Truss, whose unfunded tax cuts led to her ousted from No10 in record time in 2002, said Tory ministers shied away from PopCon policies because they “don’t want to be unpopular”.

“The irony is that these policies are popular,” said the 49-day prime minister.

“I believe the fundamental issue is that for years and years and years … Conservatives have not taken on the left-wing extremists.”

She hit out at the Government for letting people choose their gender and “pandering to the anti-capitalists”, while ordinary people believed “the wokery that is going on is nonsense”.

She said: “There is a damaging divide between those who are making the decisions – those in the elite within the M25 – and those people on the ground.

“I’m afraid we have not taken on the left enough. And the left don’t just compete with us at the ballot box now, they also work to take over our institutions.”

The Herald:

In an echo of Richard Nixon’s silent majority, Ms Truss also claimed “Britain is full of secret Conservatives – people who agree with us but don’t want to admit it because they think it’s not acceptable in their place of work, it’s not acceptable at their school”.

The PopCons could “galvanise” them, she said. 

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The PopCons claim they are about getting their ideas into the Tory manifesto and nudging Rishi Sunak in the right direction, not looking to replace him.

In truth, the PopCons are not motivated by influencing the PM but by moulding the agenda of the Tory party when it enters opposition and picks a new leader after a general election loss.

It is a symptom of a party on the way down, not the way up.

However history also tells us that parties in opposition are forced to reimagine and reinvent themselves dramatically in order to regain power.

The PopCons are limbering up for the long fight, and Mr Farage could be their candidate.