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Inside the pork-pie party where Rishi Sunak attempted to appease unhappy Tory MPs

Rishi Sunak has battled to reclaim control of the Conservatives with a pork-pie party in the garden of 10 Downing Street as unhappy right-wingers gathered down the road to plan a new way forward.

The Prime Minister aimed to project a relaxed and confident air, according to MPs who attended on Monday night, despite grumblings about his leadership and the Tory battering at the recent local elections.

Addressing around 200 MPs – including Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary increasingly accused of disloyalty by Mr Sunak’s supporters – he said that he would “deliver, deliver, deliver” in order to regain the trust of the public.

MPs arriving at the event (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty)

Mr Sunak joked: “My commitment to delivery is such that I have had crates of food and drink delivered. So, let’s all raise a glass and say God save the King!” As well as gourmet pork pies from his own constituency of Richmond in Yorkshire, the teetotal Prime Minister served up beer from Montgomeryshire in Wales.

“The mood amongst the party seems surprisingly buoyant,” one MP remarked. Since the local elections, backbenchers have complained publicly and privately about the direction the Government is taking, including the size of the tax burden and approach to Brexit. But one said: “It’s post-locals blues but it’ll pass.”

Meanwhile, Conservative MPs, activists and commentators lined up to criticise the Prime Minister and his team at the National Conservatism conference nearby in Westminster.

Sir John Hayes called for “authentic” conservatism, rather than “the desiccated, hollowed-out, sugar-free conservatism deemed to be just about acceptable by our liberal masters”. He added: “Too many conservatives opt out of conflict, instead seeking the approval of the very establishment which wants to grind them into the dust.”

On Wednesday, Lord Frost, the Tory peer who is hoping to quit the Lords and become an MP, will make his own speech as he attempts to position himself as a leader of the party’s right wing.

Former Cabinet minister Sir Robert Buckland, a Sunak loyalist, criticised colleagues who are speaking out against the Government’s direction.

He told Times Radio: “We are part of a team here that should be driven by a collective responsibility to each other and to the country.” Calling on ministers to avoid jostling for the leadership, he added: “Anybody who’s contemplating defeat, or worse still planning for it, should grow up or get out.”

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