Brexiteers and former Boris Johnson supporters are planning a campaign to “restore democracy” within the Conservative Party, putting pressure on Rishi Sunak.
The campaign, which opposes Mr Sunak’s appointment to No. 10 without a vote on membership, is backed by Tory peer and donor Lord Cruddas and organised by Brexiteer David Campbell Bannerman.
Lord Cruddas, who previously organised a petition to keep Mr Johnson in office after he was ousted by his own MPs and claimed Liz Truss faced a “conspiracy” by the backbench 1922 Committee, said democracy within the party is “dying on its feet”.
Mr. Campbell Bannerman left the Conservatives in 2004 to join Ukip, where he rose to become deputy leader before defecting back to the Conservatives in 2011.
The Conservative Democratic Organisation, which is pledging to “empower the grassroots and restore democracy in the party”, has also received the backing of former home secretary and Johnson ally Priti Patel, who called members the “heart and soul of our party”.
Mr Sunak entered Downing Street in October following the collapse of Ms Truss’s administration after being elected solely by Conservative MPs.
Over the summer, he lost the leadership election to Ms Truss in a vote of approximately 180,000 Tory members.
The campaign comes after “Tory MPs ousted grassroots favourite Boris Johnson as prime minister” and then “overthrew his successor Liz Truss, voted in by members, and installed her defeated rival Rishi Sunak,” according to the organisation.
The campaign has explicitly said it is concerned about the “left of centre position” of Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s tax plans, while also pointing to “serious concerns about the political views of many Tory MPs elected under David Cameron’s leadership” due to the party headquarters’ powerful role in candidate selection.
The campaign is the latest challenge to Mr Sunak’s authority, who has already been forced to compromise on issues such as onshore wind and housing targets due to backbencher demands.