The battle commences, the promise that CCHQ would be neutral is broken. On day one.
The father of Elliott Johnson, the young Tory activist who took his own life amid bullying allegations, has given an interview to LBC. Ray Johnson says CCHQ mishandled complaints against election guru Mark Clarke and again insisted Lord Feldman hand the evidence to the police:
Tomorrow sees the induction into the House of Lords of Emma Pidding, who was chair of the Clarke’s ‘Road Trip’ campaign. Pidding has been accused by Ray Johnson of being involved in helping Clarke. Johnson says: “I believe that Clarke had powerful backers. I don’t know for certain who Clarke’s backers are, but the name of Emma Pidding keeps cropping up”. As recently as July, Pidding arranged for her close ally Clarke to be publicly ‘feted‘ by David Cameron at the Conservative National Convention. There are rumours that it was she that leaked the names of complainants to CCHQ about Mark Clarke – allowing him to apply intense pressure on them. Social media photos – like the one above – of Clarke and Pidding together were deleted by the Baroness-to-be after the scandal broke…
Ray Johnson, Elliott Johnson’s father has written to the Conservative Party chairman Lord Feldman demanding he hands over all the internal inquiry’s evidence to the police and abandons the party’s own investigation.
The letter alleges that
Ray Johnson’s key argument is
“The party’s belated attempt at an internal inquiry is too little, too late. The correct process would be to now hand the investigation and all evidence over to the proper authorities, the Metropolitan Police, for a full criminal inquiry.”
CCHQ insiders and young Tory activists believe that a police investigation is inevitable – particularly given that the names of the original complainants against Mark Clarke were leaked to Mark Clarke from within CCHQ – leading to him exerting intense pressure on the very people who had accused him of wrongdoing. Ray Johnson accuses Emma Pidding – now Baroness Pidding – of being complicit with Clarke. With tragic consequences…
Hat-Tip: Blue Guerilla
Three prominent Conservative activists have had their conference accreditations rescinded following the death of 21 year-old Tory member Elliott Johnson. Johnson reportedly took his own life after making allegations against another Tory member. Guido understands that two of the banned activists are former candidate Mark Clarke, who ran the party youth-wing’s Road Trip election campaign, and Sam Armstrong, a member of the Tory youth group Conservative Future. Guido has been unable to confirm the identity of the third person at this moment.
A Tory spokesman said:
“Everyone in the Conservative Party is deeply saddened at the death of Elliott Johnson. The circumstances surrounding his death are in the hands of the Coroner and it is not appropriate to comment on those at this time.
The Party’s own, separate, disciplinary inquiry is in relation to complaints received from Mr Johnson and others against a member of the Party.
This initial disciplinary inquiry was launched as soon as a complaint was received in August 2015. An individual has had their membership suspended, pending the outcome of a full disciplinary panel.
Three individuals have had their Conference accreditation rescinded.”
The contents of a note left by Elliott Johnson are the subject of intense speculation…
On Wednesday Guido exclusively revealed that Philippa Roe would be a last minute addition to the Tory mayoral race. Today she confirms she is running:
“I am a Londoner through and through. I was born and brought up here, have spent my entire working and political career here and am now raising my family in what I consider to be the world’s greatest city. I am passionate about what London and Londoners can achieve… I believe I am now ready to make the next step up and deliver successfully for all Londoners.”
Her campaign team would not be drawn on when exactly Roe put in her application. Or speculation that she only entered after CCHQ realised there was no female candidate. Instead optimistic supporters point to the fact that she runs a £1 billion operation at Westminster council and say her campaign will be based on showing her “proven track record in London”.
You heard it here first…
Guido understands there is likely to be a last minute addition to the Tory mayoral race: gaffe prone Westminster council leader Philippa Roe has had her arm twisted to put in an application. Multiple sources say she has been canvassing for support.
The deadline for candidates to apply was Monday, sources say “CCHQ panicked that they didn’t have a woman on the ticket” and Roe has been convinced to throw her hat in even after the deadline had supposedly closed “at the request of CCHQ”. CCHQ are being suspiciously tight-lipped.
Readers will remember her PR blunder of publicly accusing immigrants of “defecating on people’s doorsteps”. Sounds like it’s hit the fan today…
At the time of going to pixel Philippa has not responded to Guido’s request for comment…
Chris Grayling’s SpAD Amy Fisher replaces Giles Kenningham as Head of Press at CCHQ.
Long time press office stalwart – and tax justice campaigner – Richard Jackson will be her deputy.
Fisher used to be at Policy Exchange before spinning for Caroline Spelman (remember her?) at DEFRA.
She escapes the Grayling graveyard of Office of Leader of the House.
Why the delay in the announcement of party chairman?[…]