As the Crown Prosecution Services prepares to announce whether it intends to prosecute over 30 Tory “individuals” (sic) for failing to correctly declare elections expenses during the 2015 General Election, it’s worth remembering the other scandal into which the Tory Election Expenses Scandal is interwoven. That scandal is the Tory Bullying Scandal.
It is worrying that for more than a year the entire story has gone quiet. Indeed, a current government minister, a former minister and the party chairman are entangled in its web. A party worker actually committed suicide after a campaign of bullying and intimidation, and a sitting MP was blackmailed for having an affair.
Here is what we know about the Tory Bullying Scandal:
- In 2014, Mark Clarke was appointed director Conservative RoadTrip2015 by Grant Shapps, the then party chairman. This organization, bussed activists around the country to key marginals. RoadTrip2015 is at the heart of the Tory Election Expenses Scandal.
- Clarke threatened to blackmail Robert Halfon, MP over an alleged sexual infidelity.
- A file on the bullying was passed to party chairman, Lord Feldman, who failed to take action.
- Elliott Johnson, a young party activist committed suicide after being bullied by Clarke and Andre Walker, whom he regards as a friend. Walker himself was covertly recorded on a train plotting to smear Alison Knight, the deputy leader of Windsor Council with an associate. Walker also claimed to be Johnson’s lover.
- David Cameron invited Clarke to Chequers to celebrate the activists’ role in the campaign’s success
- Sayeeda Warsi, a former party chair, wrote to Shapps demanding action be taken against bullying. She claimed that she received “no satisfactory response”.
- There was considerable overlap between Thatcherite group, Conservative Way Forward (CWF), Conservative Future (youth wing), RoadTrip2015 and Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF). It was revealed that Clarke had sexually assaulted several female members of YBF. This forced Donal Blaney, the YBF’s leader to cancel their annual conference. Blaney was also forced to resign from CWF.
- Shapps was forced to resign as International Development Minister.
- Clarke was suspended and later expelled from the party.
- The internal Tory Party inquiry found there were 13 alleged victims. The same inquiry, conducted by Clifford Chance, concluded that senior party figures were “unaware” bullying was taking place. Elliott Johnson’s parents condemned the inquiry as a “whitewash”.
Clarke appeared on The Cat’s radar back in 2012, when he was listed as the YBF’s Outreach Officer. I’d already written a piece on the YBF and its role as the self-styled ‘madrassah’, which trained young Tory
trolls activists. Clarke and the YBF had even plotted to “take over” the City of London Corporation (Council). Aidan ‘Nazi Boy’ Burley, the former MP or Cannock Chase, was a member of the YBF. He was also an associate of Clarke and the pair worked together in the Trade Union Reform Campaign or TURC. Indeed, given the names of those involved in the YBF (Blaney, Burley et al), it is entirely possible that this scandal also involves certain members – past and present – of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party. Clarke was also stepping out with Justine Greening, the current Education Secretary.
While the Tory Bullying Scandal was bubbling along, in December 2015 it emerged that Lucy Allen, the MP for Telford, had left one of her workers a series of bullying rants on her voicemail. Not satisfied with what she’d already done, Allan added the words “unless you die” to a message from a constituent that criticized her support for bombing Syria. Allan was neither investigated nor disciplined for her actions.
This is a scandal that goes right to the heart of Downing Street. But why has this story gone so cold? Could it have something to do with the Conservative Party’s internal inquiry, dubbed by some as a “whitewash”? The corporate media dropped the story soon after the inquiry. Yet questions about bullying in the Tory Party and the connection between RoadTrip2015 and the Tory Election Expenses Scandal persist. Will we ever get to the truth?