Liz Truss is right – the Tory party’s MP selection process has been so taken over by wokery that even a raging communist could be picked as a candidate, whistleblower tells ANNA MIKHAILOVA and GLEN OWEN

Liz Truss is right – the Tory party’s MP selection process has been so taken over by wokery that even a raging communist could be picked as a candidate, whistleblower tells ANNA MIKHAILOVA and GLEN OWEN

Squashed into a steamy corner of The Spectator’s office in Westminster, Liz Truss warned fellow members of the Tory Right that they were losing the battle for the future of the party.

The former Prime Minister – hosting the bunfight launch of her book Ten Days To Save The West – argued that the selection of the next generation of Tory MPs was being warped by wokery, with political correctness taking precedence over Conservative political ideology.

And according to a whistleblower who has contacted The Mail on Sunday, Ms Truss is right: the source said the process slavishly followed ‘The Script’ imposed by the party, which was ‘a box-ticking exercise more concerned with virtue-signalling than finding appropriate MPs’.

Three days after the event, in the book-lined setting of the nearby Cinnamon Club restaurant, one of Ms Truss’s former lieutenants set out his vision of how the Tories should rebuild after the expected wipeout at the General Election – and made clear that he did not see a starring role for Ms Truss.

Mark Littlewood, the former director-general of the Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank whose peerage nomination in Ms Truss’s resignation honours list was mysteriously blocked, was trying to tempt potential allies to join his new outfit, Popular Conservatism – known as PopCon – which aims to ‘Unite the Right’ of UK politics.

As waiters served high-end Indian food, Littlewood discussed the issue on the lips of every Conservative: who would succeed Rishi Sunak when he is either toppled by panicking MPs or defenestrated by the electorate.

Littlewood is advancing the ’70/70/70,000 strategy’: that there are roughly 70 weeks until a new leader comes in, 70 MPs needed to back them and 70,000 Tory party members they need to convert to the PopCon cause.

While the group has not yet agreed on a leadership candidate – other than that Ms Truss will never be trusted by the British public again – Priti Patel, Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick are the main names in the mix, possibly as part of a formal ‘Alliance’ with Nigel Farage’s Reform UK. Littlewood privately boasts raising a quarter of a million pounds, and has held talks with his former think-tank colleagues about joining the movement.

Billionaire Michael Hintze is among the powerful donors who sources say have been approached to give money directly to selected Conservative MPs, bypassing the usual pre-election channel of Conservative Party Headquarters (CCHQ). There is talk, too, of a list of about 40 ‘true blue’ names presented to donors.

‘They need to shoot the One Nation wing of the party – to eviscerate them,’ a source familiar with the list said, referring to moderate Conservatives.

While the source admits that the most recent dire polling means Littlewood’s ’70/70′ numbers are now closer to 50 weeks and 50 MPs, they are teaming up with friendly Conservative Associations across the country to build a mailing list of Tory members.

Some of the same donors being targeted gathered last week at Syon House, on the 16th-century Syon Park estate on the edge of West London, for a black-tie dinner with the Prime Minister. Hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, 50 donors heard Mr Sunak deliver a speech before schmoozing the tables – which cost £5,000 a ticket to attend.

Rishi Sunak gives a speech on welfare reform on Friday. He is described as a pragmatist and a technocrat rather than a reformer with a vision

One of those present said: ‘The PM gave the usual speech about cutting National Insurance. Sunak is a pragmatist and a technocrat rather than a reformer with a vision. When, at party conference, he said he wanted to reform A-levels and ban smoking, I thought, you haven’t got a political bone in your body. The Conservatives have had enough of this left of centre-ground nonsense.’

Ms Truss is defending a seemingly impregnable majority of more than 26,000 in her South West Norfolk seat, and so expects to be in a position to join the PopCons in helping to restructure the Right. But she faces a threat from a local independent candidate who is trying to deliver the final indignity by ousting her at the election. If she survives, she will campaign for a shake-up in the way the party now selects MPs.

The whistleblower told this newspaper that those involved in screening prospective Tory MPs are expected to follow ‘The Script’, a list of questions devised by CCHQ which does not mention policies, or issues such as Brexit: instead, the section with the most questions is titled ‘Diversity of Thought and Action’ as well as questions about ‘self-awareness’ and ‘social awareness’. Only three questions in the 110-minute interview process cover political conviction. They include: ‘Which Conservative policy presents the greatest challenge for you and why?’ and ‘How would you balance your personal beliefs with a requirement to support the Government?’

The candidates are then asked questions about ‘building diverse teams’ and ‘how would you better implement diversity of thought and action in the future’, as well as how they deal with ‘personal criticism’ and ‘great pressure’.

Liz Truss's book, Ten Days To Save The West. Her former lieutenants believe she will never be trusted by the British public again after her disastrous tenure as PM

The source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is no policy at all in place at the moment to test people’s political conviction. Anybody could pass. You could be a raging Communist and come through the process, provided you hadn’t stood as a Labour candidate. You could fool the system.

‘It’s all part of a sinister plot to reshape the party since the Cameron days. There are forces at work that have for the last five years or so tried to annihilate the centre-Right. It’s empowered people who are centre-Left within the Conservative Party.’

The source added that the ‘old way of doing things’ was more effective at finding true Tories. ‘Fifteen or 20 years ago, you would take someone out for a few drinks and get to know them, then say – do you want to get into politics? Why don’t you come and stand for my seat? It wasn’t democratic but it worked.’

Another source blamed the Downing Street machine for being ‘a major part of the problem’.

One insider said: ‘There is no point even going to them – they are such a floppy lot.’

A PopCon source said there are no plans for an alliance with Reform before the election.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: ‘We select a range of candidates from across the country from all sorts of backgrounds. We are completely confident our process selects the most appropriate candidates and gives associations a wide choice. Obviously, some people will be disappointed should they not be selected but it is a highly competitive process.’

Anna Mikhailova

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