Pressure continued to grow today for Conservative Party Chairman Lord Feldman to resign amid claims he knew about bullying allegations against disgraced former aide Mark Clarke more than a year ago.
Party activist Elliott Johnson committed suicide in September, claiming he had been bullied by Mr Clark. He had made an official complaint against Mr Clarke, but was allegedly persuaded to withdraw it later.
Now it is alleged that Lord Feldman knew of complaints about Mr Clarke’s behaviour last year yet still allowed him to work at the heart of the party’s headquarters. Both Lord Feldman and Mark Clarke deny the allegations against them.
This weekend Grant Shapps, who served as co-chairman of the Conservative Party alongside Lord Feldman until the election in May, resigned from the government over the scandal saying “the buck stops with me”. However, attention is now turning to Lord Feldman’s role.
An unnamed friend of Mr Clarke has told today’s Daily Telegraph that Lord Feldman knew of allegations in the summer of 2014, when close allies of the Road Trip 2015 campaign, which Mr Clarke ran, won senior positions in the party’s youth wing.
The friend said there had been a “whole bunch of complaints” submitted to the party’s management board, claiming: “Feldman personally stopped any investigations into those complaints.”
Lord Feldman also “signed off the money” for buses for the Road Trip campaign, the friend alleges, adding: “Feldman loved the buses so much that when buses turned up all liveried he ran outside in order to be seen with the bloody buses.”
Elliott Johnson’s father has now also called for Lord Feldman to quit, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think Lord Feldman was in charge when my son was being bullied and when my son died Shapps had left CCHQ several months earlier so the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of Lord Feldman.”
Breitbart London broke the news of Elliott’s suicide in September. Since then, the scandal has exploded, with allegations of bullying, sexual harassment and blackmail engulfing the Conservative Party.
Mark Clarke was expelled for life from the party last month. He denies all allegations against him.