Former Conservative Party candidate Mark Clarke has been named as the “man at the heart” of bullying allegations made by the 21-year-old Tory activist Elliott Johnson, who is believed to have taken his own life on the night of September 15th 2015, as first reported by Breitbart London.
Over the past week it has become clear that Mr Clarke, a former Tory ‘A-lister’ candidate had been banned from attending the Conservative Party’s Conference after the party opened an investigation into bullying claims inside the voluntary party.
A Tory party spokesman told the Guardian today: “The party’s own, separate disciplinary inquiry is in relation to complaints received from Mr Johnson and others against a member of the party.”
Mr Clarke (above, right), pictured with the former special advisor to ex-Tory Chairman Grant Shapps, Paul Abbott (left) and the Conservative Party’s strategist Jim Messina (centre) is alleged by a number of sources to have become involved in a spat with Mr Johnson over the Conservative Way Forward think tank’s website, a group run by Mr Abbott, and for which Mr Johnson was the political editor.
Breitbart London can exclusively reveal that a number of Conservative activists have now come forward with allegations that Mr Clarke had also attempted to bully them. One source told us this afternoon: “He was threatening young women, claiming that he could influence the Conservative Party’s selection process and candidates list.” Another source confirmed the claim, stating that Mr Clarke had been known for this behaviour in recent months.
Breitbart London contacted Mr Clarke for comment. He said: “These allegations are false and defamatory.”
But Breitbart London has obtained a document compiled by a Conservative Party activist in August 2014 which refers specifically to Mr Clarke and alleges that he created a mean-spirited Facebook event specifically to celebrate the resignation of a young, female party activist.
Another e-mail seen by Breitbart London alleges “[REDACTED], a long time friend and member of Mark’s close circle… told me that in order to prevent Oliver Cooper running for CF Chairman again, the team would mount a series of personal attacks in the media to erode his character”. [REDACTED] claimed to have worked for Mr Clarke at Conservative HQ in an email seen by Breitbart London. The story has been confirmed by other activists close to the issue.
An e-mail from an unrelated incident clearly shows Mr Clarke allegedly demanding the attendance of a young activist at Tory Central Office, for an issue allegedly unrelated to the Conservative Party. Mr Clarke wrote in August last year: “I am a Director in CCHQ. Do you understand this simple fact? I am telling you that we want to have a meeting with you. A member of my team, who is also a staff member in CCHQ and reports into the Chairman’s office asked you to attend.”
The activist’s e-mail, that was forwarded to Breitbart London by a third party, was clear that he had contacted the party and that no such meeting was due to take place. Mr Clarke allegedly replied, “I don’t care who you spoke to. You have been asked to attend by CCHQ a meeting in CCHQ. This could not be clearer.”
Further to this, Mr Clarke is alleged to have written: “I am a Director in CCHQ. I report into the Party Chairman directly. I don’t tell the staff on reception my meeting schedule. I do however have a clear message from you saying that you would attend. So it is rather discourteous of you not to turn up and now to not even apologise. Meet. Don’t meet. Your decision. Your consequences and your missed opportunity. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest.”
This e-mail may raise questions as to whether or not Mr Clarke was directed by the party chairman at the time, Grant Shapps, to act in such a manner. Mr Abbott, pictured above, was Mr Shapps’ special advisor during the period.
In another Facebook missive, Mr Clarke is alleged to have threatened to “ruin” the Conservative Party activists in the Oxford University association, claiming “We could ruin them. Ban all Tory speakers. Blacklist the leadership for failing to campaign properly – in a way that would follow them their entire career. And much more personal stuff.”
The source added later, that Clarke went on: “Or we could carry on envisioning and hoping they will deliver. So far we are trying the envisioning approach. Trying to help etc. I hope they deliver. I want to keep it all positive and work closely with them. We need them on board.” The source claimed it was “entirely typical” of Mr Clarke to make threats, and then row back on them to try and appear reasonable while intimidating people.
Mr Clarke commented to the Guardian: “I strongly refute any suggestion of bullying or harassment. I am not making any further comment about this matter. The family have asked for privacy and I respect both their wishes and the coroner’s process.”
But relatives of Mr Johnson have continued to speak out against those they believe are guilty of bullying. His cousin Kimberley Johnson:
Mr Clarke is currently a Senior Director of Marketing Analytics at a multinational consumer goods company, and was the Director of Road Trip 2015 – the Conservative Party’s campaigning operation which bussed young Tories around the country to make up for the party’s inability to mobilise local activists. He is due to speak at the Actionable Data Analytics conference in London next week.
Breitbart London understands that, as alluded to by the Guardian, complaints about Mr Clarke’s alleged behaviour goes back some years, and that the Conservative Party is currently, actively distancing themselves from him.
The Samaritans offer free advice to those affected by a suicide, or who have personal problems and are contemplating taking their own life. Their telephone number is 08457 90 90 90.
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