SNP MP Hides Tweets Amid Police Probe

A very curious story developing up in Scotland, where an SNP MP is cooperating with the police after thousands of pounds went missing from her pro-Indy campaign group. Unpopular Natalie McGarry, the MP for Glasgow East, was one of the founding members of “Women for Independence”. According to the Daily Record, she “was responsible for looking after their finances in the early days”. Yet after tens of thousands of pounds went unaccounted for, McGarry’s lawyer was forced to confirm she would cooperate with a police probe:

Even more curiously, McGarry this afternoon decided to ‘protect’ her Twitter account from being viewed by others, citing angry tweeters:

Curiouser and curiouser…

Tory Sex Scandal: Who Shagged Whom?

The latest revelations in this morning’s Telegraph allege that a 22 year-old activist woke up in a Tory MP’s bed with no memory of the night before. One MP is threatening an injunction, and at least three others have been accused of inappropriately having sexual relations with young volunteers on Mark Clarke’s infamous RoadTrip campaigns. This is Guido’s handy flowchart of who has been bonking whom. It is by no means complete. If you woke up naked next to a Tory MP – or indeed are a Tory MP who woke up naked next to Mark Clarke – and can’t remember the night before, call Guido’s helpline on 0709 284 0531…

Justine Greening Embroiled in Clarke Sex Scandal

Expelled Tory Mark Clarke, the CCHQ election guru at the centre of explosive bullying and blackmail allegations, is a former lover of Cabinet minister Justine Greening, reports today’s Sun. Greening was the MP for Putney during 2010 while Clarke was the Tory A-list candidate in the neighbouring Tooting constituency. The now International Development Secretary is just one of a number of top Tory women who had a sexual relationship with Clarke. Evidence of how Clarke was let in through the back door.

The CCHQ priority in all this is to protect Lord Feldman by blaming his co-chairman Grant Shapps for a failure to discipline and block Mark Clarke’s return from his previous banishment. Friends of Feldman emphasise that he had never heard of Clarke until this all blew up. The only problem with this is discipline is not a matter for the Party Chairman – it is for the board. Here we have to bring in Baroness Pidding, who was chairwoman of the National Conservative Convention and a close friend of Mark Clarke. It was Pidding who arranged for Clarke to be feted by Cameron in public at the Conservative National Convention as recently as July, effectively crowning his rehabilitation. Pidding is also an old friend of Simon Mort, who was appointed to investigate the complaints against Mark Clarke. The nature of those complaints were leaked back to Mark Clarke as, fatally, were the names of the complainants. The transmission mechanism for how Elliott Johnson’s name and complaint got back to Clarke should be the key question for the CCHQ investigation. Who knew about the complaints? Who knew Mark Clarke? Who told Clarke that Elliott Johnson had made a complaint?

clarke+pidding

Neither Feldman or Shapps in all fairness had a central role in membership discipline – Shapps no longer even had a CCHQ role after May. This is the problem for CCHQ’s investigation, the leak that led to Clarke bullying Elliott Johnson must have come from someone at the top, privy to inside information, who was also close to Clarke.  Elliott’s father, Ray Johnson, has told Guido that he has asked the police to interview Emma Pidding…

Top Tories Dragged Into Bullying Scandal

Tory MP Ben Howlett cast doubt on his party chairman’s version of events during Newsnight’s investigation into the Mark Clarke bullying scandal. This is CCHQ’s official line on when Lord Feldman first knew of the allegations:

“Lord Feldman acted immediately to set up an internal disciplinary inquiry as soon as he received the allegations in August 2015, of which he was previously wholly unaware.”

Yet Howlett claims Feldman knew of complaints against Clarke for a “long period” before then:

“We’ve complained about him for a long period of time… I complained when I was national chairman directly to Sayeeda Warsi as the party chairman, I complained directly to the chairman’s office when Grant Shapps took over as the party chairman, and I have to say Lord Feldman has been well aware of all of this for a very long period of time”

Either Feldman was “wholly unaware” of the allegations before August, or a Tory MP is slandering him. One of Howlett or Feldman must not be telling the truth…

Shapps is being lined up as CCHQ’s fall guy, though his chairmanship ceased in May so that does not explain the Tories’ continued support for Clarke throughout the summer. It is claimed that Tory deputy chairman and Cameron aide Stephen Gilbert, who is in charge of campaigning in CCHQ, even arranged for the Prime Minister to attend a party at their Manchester conference in celebration of Clarke’s RoadTrip organisation. When the Elliott Johnson scandal broke, the party was cancelled. RoadTrip have now been blacklisted by CCHQ.

Meanwhile, the Conservative Future national executive has been suspended by CCHQ. That includes Rob Halfon’s lover Alexandra Paterson, as well as Stephen Canning, India Brummitt (Clarke’s long term mistress), Annabel Shaw, Chris Rowell, Mahyar Tousi* and Eleanor Vesey-Thompson and Hannah Rawbone. Scandalous photos of several members of the national executive are in circulation. 

The following questions remian unanswered: what did Feldman, Warsi, Shapps and Gilbert know – and when – and why were the complaints against Clarke not acted upon?

*Mahyar tells Guido he resigned last month.

Mark Clarke Expelled From Tory Party For Life

Guido understands that Tory election guru Mark Clarke, who is at the centre of bullying and blackmail allegations, has been informed that his membership of the Conservative Party has been cancelled for life. Statement from the party to follow…

UPDATE: Confirmed. Full statement from the Tories:

“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.

Mark Clarke’s Party membership was suspended in September 2015, following allegations of bullying and inappropriate behaviour.

The Party does not tolerate bullying or any other improper behaviour.  Lord Feldman acted immediately to set up an internal disciplinary inquiry as soon as he received the allegations in August 2015, of which he was previously wholly unaware.

Furthermore the Party’s lawyers and the Party Board’s disciplinary committee will continue to investigate complaints received in relations to Roadtrip2015.  Also, it is confirmed that Roadtrip is no longer authorised as a campaigning entity for the Conservative Party.

Going forward, we will ensure that all groups affiliated to the Conservative Party formally adopt the harassment and anti-bullying policy of CCHQ, as contained in the staff handbook.

The Party will continue to make available on an ongoing basis to all Party members and activists the counselling service provided by Westfield Health.”

UPDATE II: Guido understands the Newsnight exposé into Tory bullying is in line to be aired tonight, pending other developing stories.

Rennard Stands Down: Full Statement

rennard

Lord Rennard has quit the LibDem Federal Executive:

A week ago, I was elected by the votes of the Liberal Democrat members of the House of Lords to be their representative on the party’s Federal Executive.  Any Lib Dem peer could have stood, all of them could vote, and I was elected by 44 votes to 25.  Since then a number of party members have objected to that outcome and sought to effectively overturn it by removing the right of the Lib Dem peers to have a representative on it.

I was disappointed that in a party called the Liberal Democrats there should be such a challenge to the result of a democratic election.  I recognise, however, that there has been much controversy in the party and this has continued partly because it has been very poor in communicating to its members the outcomes of all the various processes investigating allegations made against me.  In particular, many members have remained unaware of the key conclusion concerning me in the final report of the independent businesswoman, Helena Morrissey, who reviewed these processes.

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Newsnight Tory Sleaze Exposé Coming

elliott

Guido understands that Newsnight are not far from finishing a special investigation into what one source describes as the “culture of aggression in politics”. The report will focus on the Tory bullying/blackmail scandal that has engulfed the party, also looking at the “wider problem” of the poisonous climate that led to a young activist taking his own life. Guido hears the programme has already interviewed around 40 young Tory activists, parliamentary staffers and even non-political Westminster workers such as cleaners, with several agreeing to speak only if their faces were silhouetted and voices disguised. The family of Elliott Johnson are also believed to be helping with editorial input. No chance of them doing a McAlpine with this one, hopefully…

Halfon Backed Lover in Young Tory Elections

HALFON

These quotes from Rob Halfon to the Blue Guerilla website last year read slightly differently now. Halfon, who was a regular on the scandal-hit Road Trip campaign, backed his paramour Alexandra Paterson as she ran for the chairmanship of the Tory youth wing:

“I have seen from the hard work that she does with RoadTrip2015 that she is a dynamic and hardworking individual. She has the drive and ability to motivate the grassroots and ensure that CF resources are properly utilised around the country in the run up to the general election.”

Alexandra said at the time:

“CF should work hard – and play hard. That’s what I’ll bring to the table as CF Chairman”

At least she kept her election promise!

Cabinet Minister Admits Affair

HALFON

Tory deputy chairman and Cabinet minister Rob Halfon has admitted to having an affair as the blackmail plot engulfing the party deepens. Halfon says in a statement:

“What I did was wrong, and I feel ashamed. I am not proud

[…]

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“Unfortunate Victim” Tim Yeo Suing Sunday Times

Tim Yeo

Disgraced former Tory MP Tim Yeo is suing the Sunday Times for libel over three articles from 2013. Readers will remember the paper alleged that when Yeo was chairman of the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee, he offered two […]

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Max Mosley Bankrolled Watson’s Deputy Leadership Campaign

Tom Watson’s deputy leadership campaign was bankrolled by multi-millionaire former Monaco-based tax exile Max Mosley. Guido can reveal Mosley wrote Watson a cheque for £12,500 in August, also providing him with £27,554 worth of printing, a total of a cool […]

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Corbyn’s Woman-Beating Economics Adviser

24 hours after Harriet Harman admonished Jeremy Corbyn for his poor record on women, the Labour leader appointed woman-beating economist Thomas Piketty (above left) as his new star adviser. Piketty was charged with domestic violence for assaulting his ex-girlfriend on […]

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