Rishi Sunak’s former adviser, who quit his role last year after becoming dispirited with the direction of No10, is now working with a group of rebels plotting to oust the prime minister.
Will Dry, who worked as adviser in Downing Street until last November was revealed to be working with a group of former advisers and MPs trying to topple the prime minister ahead of a general election this year.
In a statement published on X by the Sun’s political editor, Harry Cole, Mr Dry said: “Everyone in the country can see just how colossal the challenges we face are. Sadly, it became clear to me we weren’t providing the bold, decisive action to overcome those challenges.
“You cannot dent them without internalising how just how fundamentally broken our political system is.”
Dry added: “I further concluded, again sorrowfully, that the Conservatives are heading for the most almighty of defeats. Be in no doubt: we are on course for at least a decade of Labour rule.
“And if [Nigel] Farage comes back, the Conservative party won’t exist by Christmas.”
It has been revealed that Mr Dry helped commission the polling which predicted a landslide Labour victory in the Telegraph last week. Mr Dry is said to have helped draw up questions for the recent YouGov poll, which was commissioned by a group of unnamed Tory donors.
— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) January 24, 2024
The group has undergone scrutiny after refusing to reveal their identity and calling themselves the Conservative Britain Alliance (CBA) grouping.
The polling, originally set out in the Daily Telegraph, was spear-headed by Conservative peer and former Brexit negotiator David Frost, with the estimated £70,000 cost covered by the shadowy CBA group.
The rebel group is based in central London and is rumoured to be working with around ten Tory MPs, including Suella Braverman, the former home secretary. Ms Braverman was sacked after she criticised the police for being too lenient towards pro-Palestinian protesters back in November last year and has since repeatedly called for Mr Sunak to “change course”.
Dry’s comments follow an op-ed by Simon Clark that was published on Tuesday, which said Mr Sunak’s leadership was “uninspiring” and called for him to step down.
Clarke argued that Sunak “is leading the Conservatives into an election where we will be massacred” because “he does not get what Britain needs. And he is not listening to what the British people want.”
Mr Sunak is now braced for more calls for him to resign his post over the next few months, despite Simon Clarke insisting that he was acting alone. In an interview with the BBC, Sir Simon said: “No one likes the guy who’s shouting ‘iceberg’ but I suspect that people will be even less happy if we hit the iceberg. And we are on course to do that.”
“I’ve done this on my own. And I’ve been really clear that I’ve done it deliberately on my own so that I don’t make anyone else the subject of the sort of criticism that I’ve incurred,” he added.
However, some senior conservatives colleagues are privately suggesting that Sir Simon was voicing publicly what many of their colleagues were thinking.
Today, GB News suggested that leader of the house and former leadership rival Penny Mordaunt is a favourite to replace Sunak, and a Conservative insider would like a Sunak replacement to come up with a “100 Day contract with Britain”, followed by an immediate general election.
GB news Political Editor, Christopher Hope, said:
“In this scenario, so the plan goes, Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the house of commons, would be installed as prime minister with a commitment to an election after just 100 days. There is no suggestion that Mordaunt has any idea of this ‘contract with Britain’ plan, and the chances of this happening are remote (giving the Tories a fourth leader in just four years).”
Meanwhile, Ms Mourdant gave a staunch defence of Rishi Sunak, claiming the Prime Minister “doesn’t just get Britain, he represents the best of Great Britain”.
The Commons Leader sought to rouse support for the Mr Sunak in the wake of rumours about rebellions.
Ms Mordaunt defended the Prime Minister, claiming he had chosen a “life in public service representing God’s own country” despite having “many career options”.
She said her boss had “protected this nation” through his work as chancellor during the pandemic, and pointed to his patronage of community pubs, football clubs, a brass band, and his “quietly” giving to charities.
Ms Mordaunt added: “He doesn’t just get Britain, he represents the best of Great Britain, the greatest things we have to offer and what they mean to the world and our values: hard work, enterprise, taking personal responsibility for yourself and helping others.”