British Conservative party bullying scandal escalates

This BBC video from Britain says about itself:

Conservative Future bullying allegations: Newsnight investigation

18 November 2015

A Newsnight investigation into allegations of bullying and sexual harassment by senior Conservative activists.

A video from Britain which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

Tory aide accused of sexual harassment expelled from the Conservative party

18 November 2015

Mark Clarke, a senior Tory aide accused of bullying and sexual harassment, has been expelled from the party for life.

A Conservative spokesman confirmed that Mr Clarke, who ran the Team 2015 election road-trip campaign, has had his membership cancelled as a result of a number of complaints against him.

The decision means Mr Clarke can never become an MP for the party.

The party has also confirmed that the Roadtrip campaign is no longer authorised by the Conservatives.

A police investigation into Elliot Johnson’s death is ongoing.

Mr Clarke was dubbed the ‘Tatler Tory’ after being named as a rising star in the party, but he later failed to win the Tooting seat where he ran against Sadiq Khan in 2010.

He was accused of masterminding a plot to blackmail Rob Halfon, a cabinet minister, over an affair the MP had with a Conservative campaigner.

The Minister was reportedly told of an alleged plan to film him and his lover leaving a club where they regularly met, in order to blackmail him with the pictures.

It is claimed that Mr Clarke threatened to take pictures of the pair in a bid to win himself a parliamentary seat in 2020. He previously failed to win the Tooting seat during the 2010 election.

The news forced Mr Halfon, 46, to call off the affair in May. He has a long term partner but is not married.

In a statement the well-respected Conservative MP said: “What I did was wrong, and I feel ashamed. I am not proud of myself. The most important thing to me is to continue to repair my relationship with my partner.”

He [Clarke] is also alleged to have attempted to trick the young female campaigner into taking drugs so that he could take pictures and use them against her.

She has reported Mr Clarke to Tory bosses, a source told The Telegraph. Mr Clarke denies all the allegations.

In a statement the party said: “In the light of information that has come to our knowledge this week, Mark Clarke’s membership of the Conservative Party has been cancelled for life. This means he cannot be a candidate or represent the Party in any way.”

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Grant Shapps resigns: International development minister steps down amid Tory bullying scandal

The father of Elliott Johnson, the Tory activist who is believed to have killed himself, said his son would still be alive if the party had acted on complains about Mark Clarke’s behaviour

Samuel Osborne

4 hours ago

Grant Shapps, the Minister of State at the Department for International Development, has resigned after claims emerged he failed to act over allegations of bullying by a Tory campaigner.

In a resignation letter seen by the BBC, Mr Shapps told David Cameron “the buck should stop with me” over issues while he was Conservative Party chairman.

The Prime Minister earlier refused to offer his full support to Mr Shapps in the wake of the bullying allegations. He told reporters a statement would be made on the former party chairman today.

The father of Elliott Johnson, the Tory activist who is believed to have killed himself, said his son would still be alive if the party had acted on complains about Mark Clarke’s behaviour.

He and the Conservative MP Ben Howlett claim successive party chairs, including Grant Shapps and the incumbent Lord Feldman, have been aware of Mr Clarke’s reputation for years.

A letter emerged, written by former party chairman Sayeeda Warsi and sent to Mr Shapps, demanding action be taken against Mr Clarke. She said she never received a “satisfactory response”.

The letter appeared to contradict the Tory party‘s claim it was unable to find records of uninvestigated complains against him.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Shapps writes: “Over the past few weeks – as individual allegations have come to light – I hvae come to the conclusion that the buck should stop with me.

“Given the very serious nature of what has subsequently occurred and my role in appointing Mr Clarke, I cannot help but conclude that the only right course of action is for me to step down as a Minister in your government.” …

It had been reported Mr Clarke attempted to obtain photos of Conservative minister Robert Halfon leaving the East India Club with a woman who was allegedly his mistress, supposedly to blackmail the minister without portfolio.

Mr Halfon, who has a long-term partner but is not married, finished the affair in May, according to The Telegraph.

Mr Shapps courted controversy during his time as Tory party chairman.

He was forced to admit he had “screwed up” over his denial that he held a second job posing as a multi-millionaire under the pseudonym Michael Green while also an MP in 2006.

Grant Shapps resigns: Lord Feldman to be questioned over Tory bullying suicide scandal. He is among more than 40 witnesses who will be asked to give evidence to party officials investigating the affair: here.

LORD Feldman was allowed to chair yesterday’s Tory crisis talks over the party’s bullying scandal — that he is implicated in. A Conservative spokesman confirmed the peer chaired a board meeting “as usual” despite facing growing calls to resign. The Tory chairman is accused of ignoring complaints about the conduct of top Tory aide Mark Clarke, which are linked to the suicide of youth activist Elliott Johnson: here.

Tory chairman Lord Feldman is ‘in a lot of trouble’: Conservative MPs call for Cameron to sack his old uni pal in Tatler Tory storm: here.

‘Bet Lynch’ baroness and fury of tragic young activist’s father: Close confidante of Tatler Tory was made a peer less than a month after ‘bullied’ campaigner took his own life. Baroness Pidding was rewarded for work with election aide Mark Clarke. Came under a month after young activist Elliott Johnson took his own life. Decision to make Pidding a peer attacked as ‘crass’ by Mr Johnson’s father: here.

Tory bullying scandal: Mark Clarke [a consultant at Unilever] ‘used connections with Guido Fawkes blog to threaten opponents’. Exclusive: It is claimed the ‘Tatler Tory’ used contacts in the media to intimidate those who threatened to expose him: here.

Tory bullying scandal: Grant Shapps ‘pledged top job to Mark Clarke in return for allegiance’. Exclusive: Ex-minister sought backing for party leadership and was ‘Mark Clarke’s meal ticket’: here.

8 thoughts on “British Conservative party bullying scandal escalates

  1. Monday 30th November 2015

    posted by Luke James in Britain

    TOP Tories fought to save the skin of party chairman Lord Feldman yesterday amid calls for him to resign over a bullying scandal sparked by the suicide of a young activist.

    Grant Shapps quit as overseas aid minister on Saturday after evidence emerged he ignored complaints about bullying connected to the death of Elliott Johnson in September.

    Ex-minister Baroness Warsi revealed an email proving that he knew about bullying allegations against former Tory aide Mark Clarke, whom Mr Johnson named in a suicide note.

    In a bid to draw a line under the scandal, Mr Shapps said the “buck should stop with me.”

    The 21-year-old was found dead on railway tracks on September 15.

    His father believes Lord Feldman — named as one of 40 witnesses who has given evidence to an internal investigation — should also resign.

    David Cameron was standing by his tennis partner and long-term pal yesterday though, with a spokeswoman confirming the Prime Minister had “full confidence” in Lord Feldman.

    Defence Secretary Michael Fallon also attempted to limit the damage to Mr Shapps yesterday in an appearance on the Andrew Marr show.

    He said: “The person directly responsible for central office, for campaigning, the co-chairman Grant Shapps, who signed up Mark Clarke’s operation — he has accepted responsibility and yesterday he resigned.”

    Allies of Mr Shapps pointed out though that Mr Feldman was the sole Tory Party chairman at the time of Mr Johnson’s death.

    And Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth said: “Grant Shapps’s resignation doesn’t end this — we need to know just how widely this goes.

    “The current party chairman Lord Feldman has serious questions to answer about when exactly he was made aware of concerns about Mark Clarke and what action was taken as a result.”

    The Tories have belatedly promised to publish the key findings and recommendations of their investigation after public pressure.

    The PM has appointed fellow old-Etonian Nick Hurd to replace Mr Shapps.


  2. Wednesday 2nd December 2015

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    Mark Clarke led a Tory cabal to undermine trade unions long before the party expelled him amid bullying claims, finds KEITH FLETT

    THE 2010 Tory candidate for Tooting Mark Clarke has been excluded from the Tory Party for life following allegations of bullying and the unfortunate death of a Tory activist in September 2015.

    Clarke has denied the allegations but stories across the media from the Mail to the Guardian continue. Former Tory chair Grant Schapps has been forced to resign his ministerial post for failing to follow up earlier complaints about Clarke.

    Clarke’s most recent role in the Tory Party was to run the campaign bus in the 2015 election.

    The media’s obsession with Jeremy Corbyn has meant that Clarke’s wider background has gone unexamined.

    After his failure to win Tooting (Labour’s Sadiq Khan is its MP) Clarke was soon involved in another role.

    The Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC) was launched in late 2011. Clarke was the chief executive.

    Former Tory MP Adrian Burley was briefly associated with it before he got caught up in a story about dressing up as a nazi.

    Other Tory MPs were involved — including, crucially, Prime Minister David Cameron. Also in the TURC circle, although not, it appears, on board with all its ideas was Harlow MP Robert Halfon who has featured in the current Clarke media story too. A further TURC officer was Harry Cole, now the Sun’s Westminster correspondent.

    Some of these matters were clearly laid out by journalist and union activist Tim Lezard at the time.

    The TURC did not play a significant role in the discussion around union rights and the law which culminated in the current Trade Union Bill.

    Indeed, as far as can be seen, it has done nothing at all since the autumn of 2013.

    The date probably relates to the appointment of a QC, Bruce Carr, to lead a review of union activity and the law.

    The supposed motivation for that was the “scandal” about Unite members and the Labour Party in Falkirk.

    It may well be that the TURC felt its work was done, or it may be that leading players like Clarke determined that with a general election coming up, their political energies were required elsewhere.

    In the event, while Carr did produce a report in 2014 he refused to make any recommendations because by this time details of the current Bill had been revealed and he felt his efforts had been undermined it seems.

    However Clarke in particular was obsessed by trade union facility time. His view was that in the public-sector union activists should not get any paid time off for union work and that any such activity should be paid for by the trade unions concerned.

    It is a view which suggests a complete ignorance of how the world of work actually works.

    Even so, Clarke used his media contacts — which included Paul Stainsby who runs the right-wing Guido Fawkes operation — to focus on trade union reps with facility time.

    This was not just a general political campaign: it focused on individuals. Clarke called reps “pilgrims” because his original focus had been a trade union activist he had come across in Tooting called Jane Pilgrim.

    The numbers of reps who were focused on was probably quite small but those who were unfortunate enough to come to the attention of Clarke and the TURC might well find themselves the subject of critical articles in papers like the Sun and the Daily Mail.

    Given the current allegations about Clarke, it is perhaps no surprise that the TURC stooped to such unpleasant tactics.


  3. Saturday 5th December 2015

    posted by Luke James in Britain

    Ray Johnson brushes off claims that peer was not responsible for his son’s suicide

    RESPONSBILITY for the death of a young Tory activist “rests on the shoulders” of party chairman Lord Feldman, his father said yesterday.

    Ray Johnson said his son Elliott, who was found dead on railway tracks in September, complained directly to Andrew Feldman about bullying and blackmail in the party’s youth movement.

    Grant Shapps resigned from the government over the scandal last weekend but the bereaved dad believes Mr Feldman must also take responsibility.

    He said: “I’m sure they thought they could sweep us under the carpet the levels of denials or obstruction proved to me that they had no real intention of changing their ways so we just had to keep on pushing and pushing and pushing and eventually the dam broke.

    “I’m sure Lord Feldman was aware what was going on because my son made his complaint directly to him and in my mind the tragedy rests on his shoulders.

    “Grant Shapps has gone, I’m sure others will go but the man at the top has to take responsibility for his actions or, in this case, inaction.”

    Top Tories, including Chancellor George Osborne, have taken part in an orchestrated campaign to save Mr Feldman’s political future.

    The peer is the party’s head of fundraising, as well as a long-term friend and tennis partner of Prime Minister David Cameron.

    He claimed he did not know about bullying claims until allegations against senior Tory aide Mark Clarke burst into the open last month.

    Mr Clarke, who bussed young activists around Britain during the general election campaign, was named in a suicide note left by Mr Johnson.

    Since his son’s death, Mr Johnson said he had been contacted by many more young activists about the “endemic” bullying in the party.

    “Too many young lives have been damaged by this excessive amount of bullying, harassment and intimidation,” he said.

    He also raised concerns that an investigation would lead to a cover-up of the worst allegations, saying: “Political parties have a habit of doing things like that.”

    The BBC has seen a memo that shows Tory bosses knew in August that Mr Clarke was a “sociopath,” who’s bullying tactics are “well known.”


  4. Pingback: British Conservative bullying, sexual abuse scandal, continued | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: British Conservative party bullying scandal continues | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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