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‘Political suicide’: Grassroots Tories’ fury at Rishi Sunak after sacking Suella Braverman revealed in leaked WhatsApps | Politics News

Sacking Suella Braverman means “suicide” for the Tory party and Rishi Sunak has just “thrown the election away” according to leaked WhatsApp messages between members of a grassroots Conservative organisation leaked to Sky News.

Members of the Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO), a momentum-style group created out of frustration at the ousting of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss and backed by Priti Patel, called on Tory MPs to submit letters of no confidence in Rishi Sunak after Monday’s reshuffle.

Conversations between CDO members on Monday reveal they believe “Sunak has committed political suicide” and “the cabinet is pretty much the exact opposite of what we voted for in 2019” while another asks “is it April Fool’s day???”

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The CDO, whose president is Lord Peter Cruddas, aims to change the rules of the Tory party to give the membership a bigger voice in its running.

Sky News has seen messages from regional WhatsApp groups where CDO members give their views on the reshuffle. Many, but not all, are Conservative members, and almost none are nationally recognisable figures so are not being named by Sky News.

These views are not representative, therefore, of the whole Tory membership, but represent a slice of Conservative thinking inside and outside the party. It chimes with some Tory MPs on the right who believe the reshuffle will bolster Reform UK, the right-wing party created from the Brexit Party.

In the South East CDO group, one contributor calls the appointment of David Cameron a “very weak decision”, another calls it the “undoing of the party” and a third says “FFS”.

One says “the only good news would be if Kemi [Badenoch, business secretary] replaces [Chancellor Jeremy] Hunt but I can’t see it”.

Read more from Sam Coates:
Sunak mocked in leaked WhatsApps by grassroots
Scale of civil war between Tory MPs over police revealed

Some in relation to Cameron refer to conspiracy theories about an elite in Davos controlling the world.

“His biggest regret was Brexit, even though he was always a eurosceptic. Why? Because it robbed him of post PM £s on the Davos circuit. He’s back to redeem himself under Davos darling Nutsak”. “Nutsak” is an occasional nickname for Sunak in this group.

“I’ve not been this angry since Boris was forced out”, says one.

In the same group, they respond to the sacking of Ms Braverman as home secretary with dismay.

“I call on Conservative MPs to submit their VoNC [vote of no confidence] letters to the 1922 [Committee]. Rishi Sunak & his out-of-touch squad, must be outed from No10,” said one. Later that day, Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns did submit such a letter.

“Is Suella a member of the CDO?” asks one. “How can we help her and thereby help ourselves and our country? I am really unhappy about this… Let’s push for letters to go in.”

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Richard Holden’s appointment as party chairman is also the source of dismay because he is seen as close to Mr Sunak.

“Apparently an ex CCHQ staffer, otherwise known as a full commitment to the lunatics taking over the asylum,” one said.

Read the full exchanges below.

CDO SOUTH EAST

[08:39] Activist 1: Reshuffle starting now…

[08:40] Activist 1: Suella has just been sacked. The end of the Conservative party

[08:40] Activist 2: Harry Cole was reporting that it was expected because of the vague agenda for today.

[08:42] Activist 2: Let’s hope it’s the beginning of the end for Sunak

[08:4?] Activist 2: He’s now jumping to the bark of Labour

[08:45] Activist 3: If Suella has been sacked, then he should go. Is Suella a member of CDO? How can we help her and thereby help ourselves and our country? I am really unhappy about this.

[08:46] Activist 2: Now it’s time for the backbenchers to put up.

[08:46] Activist 3: Let’s push for the letters to go in.

[08:46] Activist 4: He is demonstrating he is a follower not a leader.

[08:47] Activist 2: It’s so weak. Even if he wanted to sack her he shouldn’t indulge in the left

[08:47] Activist 3: An unelected one at that. Disgraceful.

[08:47] Activist 5: Suella has been sacked – it’s on the news websites now.

[08:50] Activist 6: I call on Conservatives Mp’s to submit their VoNC letters to the 1922. Rishi Sunak & his out-of-touch squad, must be ousted from NO.10. To those few are still members, please write your Association(s). #Ready4Rishi2Go

[08:58] Activist 7: Sunak & he party is sunk. They’ve backed the wrong horse(s)

[08:59] Activist 2: Cleverly as HS

[09:00] Activist 8 : Not sure what he was thinking, she can do more damage to him on the backbenches! Thanks for that was about to write to Cleverly about a matter abroad!

CDO SOUTH WEST

[08:41] Activist 1: Suella has been sacked

[08:41] Activist 2: What an idiot!

[08:42] Activist 3: Activist Sunak got to go

[08:42] Activist 4: Well on the bright side Suella is free now to replace him when the time comes…

[08:43] Activist 5: It’s nothing like the party I joined in the 1970’s when we had a clear vision and direction. My MP doesn’t share many of my Conservative principles sadly like many of his colleagues.

[08:43] Activist 6: I think this trigger for letters to go in

[08:51] Activist 6: Tell your MP’s!

[08:54] Activist 5: Just sent an email to my MP

[08:57] Activist 6: Great yes pile on everyone

[10:13] Activist 2: There are no pliable MPs left for Sunak and his squad to call upon. What an utter clown show. What now Activist 6?

[10:15] Activist 6: Now letters must go in and Sunak replaced urgently. We could have a leadership election in 3 weeks including limited hustings and members vote.

[10:16] Activist 7: Do you think there are enough MPs with a backbone to do it though?

CDO LONDON

[07:08] Activist 1: The current Tory government

Rishi Sunak: Stabbed the one person who gave him a top job, rejected by us, done nothing in the year he’s been the cuckoo prime minister, rejected by the people according to the pills.

Hunt: Rejected by us 4 times and disliked by the people according to the polls.

Cameron: Didn’t like the result of a democracy so ran away and let down his constituency by resigning. Got caught being a naughty man.

Did I miss anything? :/

[08:42] Activist 2: He’s sacked Suella! He’s on a suicide mission for the party!

[08:43] Activist 3: Sunak has committed political suicide

That being said, I’m sure this is a positive step towards a Bravermen leadership.

[08:45] Activist 4: Time for the letters to go in! Let’s see what mess is made of reshuffle too.

[08:49] Activist 2: I’m furious.

[08:49] Activist 2: He is no Politician. He doesn’t understand that the Tory faithful are pretty much only still faithful because of Suella.

[08:52] Activist 2: I’m a party member, I’ve always voted Tory. I’m active in the local association and I am really struggling with the idea of voting for them at the next GE. Sorry, but they need a kicking.

[08:52] Activist 3: I would be furious if I wasn’t rather excited to watch Sunak’s unravelling and a (potential) leadership bid by Suella.

Rishi has signed his political death warrant, and Suella will be back – so the situation is bittersweet.

[09:50] Activist 5: This is just awful.

[09:50] Activist 5: Sunak is not even a Tory

[09:50] Activist 5: MPs: Get him out NOW!

[09:50] Activist 2: I’m so angry I can’t focus on work.

[10:13] Activist 6: I feel the same, I’m furious. Just watched the idiots on GB News saying Suella was out of control. She was the first minister in years I actually felt was a real Conservative with genuine Conservative values. I hope she runs for leadership and kicks Sunak to touch.

[10:19] Activist 2: This cabinet is pretty much the exact opposite of what we voted for in 2019.

[10:44] Activist 7: If she does and gets voted in overwhelmingly by the membership, the snakes will oust her, ignore us all and install another puppet!

[10:45] Activist 8: It’s 10:45.

What’s the delay in those letters to Sir Graham? There’s not a postal strike is there?

[10:45] Activist 9: Exactly, as we are unfortunately accustomed to.

[13:15] Activist 10: I see the ‘one nation’ tories are full of glee today.

[13:34] Activist 11: They won’t be after next year’s general election results.

[13:36] Activist 11: Although saying that, they might actually be gleeful, since they seem so hellbent on causing as much reputational damage to the party as possible.

CDO YORKSHIRE & HUMBER

[10:12] Activist 1: I can’t believe it. Suella sacked and Cameron in as foreign secretary!

[10:13] Activist 1: Is it April fools day????

[10:14] Activist 2: Incredible – has just thrown the election away! I bet Starmer sends him a crate of champagne to thank him! We need to get off our bums and write in and voice our anger.

[11:08] Activist 3: I wonder who made him sack her? Dr. No or another member of the cabal really running the country? Looks like time to quit the party for me.

[11.10] Activist 4: Stay as a member. You will have more influence in the future.

[11:10] Activist 5: It’s not our party anymore… It hasn’t been for a while.

[11:10] Activist 3: Exactly true!

[11:16] Activist 6: I’m not quitting. I want the satisfaction of being involved in rebuilding once these people have moved on. Unfortunately unless the backbenchers grow a pair we are going to have to go a few years of socialism in order to move them on .

[11:18] Activist 7: A few years? We’ll never get into power again… Votes will be opened up to 16 year olds, non-British nationals too.. We’ll then have another referendum and be back under the globalists boot. Democracy will be dead, and this party with its blatant corruption, enabled it.

[11:39] Activist 8:v I heard they’re going to change the membership vote for PM, just in case we have the audacity of not choosing the right person. It breaks my heart to say this, but the conservative party, that I’ve supported for years, is well and truly finished. A vote for this shower is a wasted vote.

[11:43] Activist 9: Will Cameron become leader?

[13:24] Activist 9: Hague orchestrated Cameron. It’s to stop a Boris or Farage come back.

[13:26] Activist 9: We need to split.

[13:38] Activist 9: Right wing members of 2 groups meeting this afternoon. Let’s see the letters but i think we need a breakaway.

Rishi Sunak mocked in leaked WhatsApps as grassroots Tories vow to ‘go to war’ with party’s liberals | Politics News

Grassroots Conservative supporters are saying they want to oust Rishi Sunak and “go to war” with the liberal wing of the party in leaked WhatsApp messages obtained by Sky News.

We have obtained the discussions amongst members of the Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO), founded in December 2022 by donor and Johnson-backer Lord Peter Cruddas after the ousting of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

The group has had high profile support from senior figures on the right of the Conservative Party. Its conference in May featured speeches from Priti Patel, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries.

The leaked WhatsApps show the vitriol among some of its members aimed at Mr Sunak, little expectation of victory in the general election and a desire to take back control of the Tory party for the right, post-election.

A Tory source said that it was wrong to characterise Mr Sunak as being on the liberal wing of the party, saying he is “significantly more Conservative than Boris Johnson”.

Some of the screenshots suggest a handful of members believe in conspiracies, referring to “globalists” and a WEF government – a reference to the World Economic Forum held in Davos – which some conspiracy theorists believe to be home of a secretive world government which benefits elites.

Sky News has not named any of the activists involved, and not published the screenshots, since the participants in these conversations are not nationally significantly figures.

Several of the messages show the anger felt towards other wings of the Conservative party.

One activist said: “It’s time to go to war … unfortunately it’s with the liberals in our party. Needs to be done we need the party back.”

They go on: “Listening to my local party’s WhatsApp broadcast it’s like the last days of Rome… carrying on with the same old policies that have lost year after year. Ignoring actual conservatives and a conservative message… preferring to appear liberal to appease the middle class liberal climate guilt voters…. Personally I can’t see past the cowardice…. I’m pretty sure that’s all the public see too.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to Curzon Street railway station in Birmingham where the HS2 rail project is under construction.
Image:
Some people want to see a return of Boris Johnson

Read more:
What are the different factions in the Conservative Party?

Ten conference moments that made headlines

The WhatsApp messages, almost all this year and some from the last few weeks, show:

• Members of the group mocking Mr Sunak, one saying he has the charisma of a “doorknob”. Another says he is “uninspiring” and saying the “govt can’t get anything right”, and characterise it as a party of “globalists”.

• Members of the CDO believe that Sunak, who voted for Brexit, is governing like a “remainer”. “CDO needs to rethink Rishi and pals, remainers have a firm hold on the party”, says an activist. Another says: “It’s no longer a conservative government I would vote for.”

• Some calling on them to remove Mr Sunak before the election, others hoping for a return of Boris Johnson. Others think an election will help Conservatives “find out who their voters are and rebuild from there”.

• Many rail about the way he was chosen to be leader, saying he “trampled democracy underfoot”. He became prime minister unopposed after Tory MPs ousted Ms Truss. Another said: “He staged a coup”.

• Many have given up winning the next election, with one saying “we’re gunna (sic) be out of power for a lot longer than 4 years and giving (sic) the cultural shift we may never get back in”.

• Others tout alternative leaders. An activist asks: “Is Tom Harwood a Conservative. If he is, he would make an ideal prime minister”. Mr Harwood is a political journalist at GB News.

• The group also criticises Mr Sunak’s cabinet. During the reshuffle earlier this month, one queried Grant Shapps’ appointment to the defence brief. “I just don’t find Shapps credible. Certainly not to take over the mantle from Wallace who was beyond excellent.” Another calls him a “crony appointment; Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Some CDO WhatsApp members see a conspiracy behind the poor performance from the Tories.

One says: “No party can be this incompetent on purpose. It’s got to be by design. And the only conclusion I can come to of why they would do this, is that they are all bought and paid for, same for Labour and the other cretins in parliament.

“Someone is pulling the strings to turn our country into a third world s**thole”.

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However, other members rejected the conspiracy theories.

One member of the Yorkshire CDO group said: “Infighting is what they’re best at. Who can stop that? Factions have formed and need breaking up. Who can do that? We can help if we’re not amongst them.

“They all need to see sense – immediately. But we need to know who’s in which faction in order to set targets to break them up.”

The majority of the group appears to have clear boundaries. When one commenter talks about Londistan and makes a link to Sadiq Khan, others jump in to condemn them, saying the CDO does not tolerate racism and that “true Conservatives are inclusive”.

Claire Bullivant, co-founder and chief executive of the CDO, said: “The CDO is a place for everyone who cares about democracy, and we certainly aren’t made up of just Conservative Party members.

“In fact, we have a lot of members who belong to Reform and other parties who all hold different views on various politicians. Some love Rishi, some don’t. Some want Boris back, some don’t.

“It’s normal… it’s by the by. What we care about is democracy and bringing a voice back to the people.

She added: “I personally follow the Ronald Reagan principle as I am a Conservative and I don’t really like bashing fellow Tories.

“But you’re showing me WhatsApp messages that could have been written by anyone who has joined some of our WhatsApp groups.”

She went on to welcome the publication of the leaks by Sky News.

“Of course the media will try and make a story about it. Go for it. Thank you for the publicity,” she said.

“It’s great that more people will hear about us. More and more people are joining CDO everyday.

“Like us they want democracy, and they want a centre right party that believes in free people, free markets, free speech, small governments and low taxes.

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“The fact is no-one wants Starmer, no-one wants 20mph limits, no-one wants unions running the show, no-one wants wokery, no-one wants ULEZ expansions and big government breathing down your neck every second. The average man on the street does not want Labour.

“I’m proud of what the CDO has achieved in such a short time and this is just the start. We have a great relationship with CCHQ and are excited to work with the Conservative Party moving forward.”

COVID inquiry chair insists it is for her to decide what material is ‘relevant’ amid row over Johnson WhatsApps | Politics News

The chair of the COVID inquiry says it is up to her to decide what evidence is “relevant or potentially relevant” amid a legal row with the government over Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages.

Baroness Hallett refused to withdraw her order for the government to hand over unredacted material for her investigation as she formally opened the COVID inquiry on Tuesday.

It comes just days after the government launched a judicial review over her order to the Cabinet Office that it hand over Mr Johnson’s unredacted WhatsApp messages and other documents.

The former prime minister has already sent “all unredacted WhatsApps” directly to the inquiry.

Acknowledging the legal battle, Baroness Hallett said: “As has been widely reported in the media, an issue has arisen between the inquiry and the Cabinet Office as to who decides what is relevant or potentially relevant.

“I issued a notice under Section 21 of the Inquiries Act 2005 making it clear that, in my view, it is for the inquiry chair to decide what is relevant or potentially relevant.

“The Cabinet Office disagrees, claiming they are not obliged to disclose what they consider to be unambiguously irrelevant material. They invited me to withdraw the Section 21 notice. I declined.

“They are now challenging my decision to decline to withdraw the notice in the High Court by way of judicial review.

“With litigation pending and as the decision-maker, I can make no further comment.”