Tory MPs descended on the same Berkshire hotel where the Prime Minister shook on a new post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this week.
But despite the initial support for the Windsor Framework in the immediate aftermath of the summit on Monday, Boris Johnson decided to torpedo the new deal just as Tory MPs were settling down to hear how the party intended to tackle the next general election.
The absence of Ms Truss, who was seen walking through the Parliamentary estate rather than the doors of the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel on Thursday morning, and the all-out attack from Mr Johnson suggests the Conservatives will be far from a united force as they prepare for the local and general elections.
Mr Sunak’s team are now braced for a wider backlash from the Brexiteer wing of the party, such as the European Research Group, amid fears they may flock to Mr Johnson’s rallying cry.
However, it was the decision by senior civil servant Sue Gray to quit her role and become Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff that lit up backbenchers’ phones during the away day with several understood to be “appalled” by the news.
The Prime Minister delivered an introductory speech before MPs were given a polling presentation by Tory election guru Isaac Levido, who was the mastermind behind the party’s thumping 80-seat majority win in 2019.
MPs were then given options of breakout sessions, with those defending Blue Wall seats in the south offered a seminar on how to beat the Liberal Democrats.
i understands that part of the seminar was dedicated to providing Conservatives with the tools to debunk Lib Dem claims over water pollution and sewage, which has become a key battleground in certain Blue Wall seats.
Other sessions included tips on data targeting and how to use social media to campaign in election.
According to Politico, MPs were then treated to a pub quiz hosted by party chairman Greg Hands, with quiz rounds based on topics , such as “Great Labour scandals,” “Lib Dem and SNP failures” and “Great Conservative election wins”.
While the Tories and opposition parties have held several Cabinet away days over recent years, the last Tory Party away day has not taken place since David Cameron left office in 2016.