Only ‘odd weirdos’ care about net zero, says senior Tory Lee Anderson

Senior Conservative right-winger Lee Anderson has claimed that only “odd weirdos” care about achieving net zero in the battle against climate change.

The Tories’ former deputy chairman – who quit his role because he rebelled on Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda bill – urged the PM to ditch green levies.

Mr Anderson appeared alongside Liz Truss and Jacob Rees-Mogg at the launch of a new Tory faction called Popular Conservatism – also known as the PopCons.

The right-winger said “net zero never comes up” with voters on the doorstep, apart from the “odd weirdo in the corner” who supports the Green Party.

Not many of his constituents “lie awake at night worrying about net zero”, the Ashfield MP told the group’s launch, arguing that they care far more about their own fuel bills.

Speaking about the need to ditch the green levies which pay for investment in transition away from fossil fuels, Mr Anderson said: “We should have an opt-in, opt-out on our fuel bills.”

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mhairi Fraser, Lee Anderson and Liz Truss (PA)
Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mhairi Fraser, Lee Anderson and Liz Truss (PA)

Mr Anderson also joked that both he and right-wing ally Sir Jacob “have one thing in common here – we were both born on estates … His was a country estate, I was born on a council estate.”

It came as Mark Littlewood, leader of the Popular Conservatives, insisted that he was not interested in ousting Rishi Sunak – claiming “this isn’t about the leadership of the Conservative party.”

The right-wing economist – a key Truss supported who was handed a peerage in her resignation honours – also said it was not about seeking to “replicate or replace” any of the many existing right-wing caucuses of Tory MPs.

Railing against the Sunak government and the Whitehall institutions, he said low taxes have proven to be “frustratingly elusive” – attacking bureaucrats who “share the same sort of leftist groupthink”.

Mr Rees-Mogg also launched an attack on “unaccountable” institutions and drew parallels with the anger of British voters and the protests by farmers in France and Germany.

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg during the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)
Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg during the launch of Popular Conservatism (PA)

And new right-wing favourite Mhairi Fraser, a prospective Tory candidate, attacked Mr Sunak’s “ludicrious” youth smoking ban and other “nanny state policies”.

Nigel Farage denied he is seeking to join the Conservative party or the PopCon movement “at the moment” – insisting that he was only there to cover it for GB News.

“I’m not looking to join the Tory party, you must be joking,” said the Reform UK president. “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.”

Mr Farage said none of the ideas that will be discussed at the Popular Conservatism launch will make it into the next Tory manifesto.

“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.”

The hard-right populist said the party is now “so far away from the centre of gravity of most Conservative voters, it is almost untrue”.

Asked whether he will remain a GB News presenter or stand as a Reform candidate, Mr Farage said: “I’m very happy with life as it is, thank you very much indeed – doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind.”