Simon Danczuk has come out swinging on LBC, telling Iain Dale he doesn’t rule out being the victim of a set-up. Most worryingly for the Corbynistas who want to expel him, he also doesn’t rule out running against Labour as an independent in 2020…
Simon Danczuk speaks:
“It’s not for ex-girlfriends or ex-wives to determine who the MP for Rochdale is, it’s for the residents of Rochdale to determine who the MP for Rochdale is.”
A by-election between an independent Danczuk, a Corbynista Labour candidate and UKIP would be box office…
Labour say in a statement:
“The General Secretary of the Labour Party has today suspended Simon Danczuk’s membership of the Party, pending an investigation into allegations published in the media today. A full investigation will now take place under the authority of the National Executive Committee, which will be responsible for determining any further action.”
The Corbynistas finally have their revenge. Only fitting that it comes courtesy of a Sun front page…
UPDATE: Danczuk speaks:
12 days ago, Tory MP Ben Howlett disputed Lord Feldman’s claim that he was “wholly unaware” of the Mark Clarke allegations prior to August, insisting his party chairman “has been well aware of all of this for a very long period of time”. Howlett made the claim in a Newsnight interview pre-recorded before CCHQ released Feldman’s line, but aired afterwards. At the time Howlett was seen as a whistleblower bravely speaking out against his party.
It would seem from his Newsnight interview that Howlett has information that could clear up whether or not Feldman misled the public. Guido contacted him on five separate occasions yesterday, politely asking for a quick clarification of why he believed Feldman had known of allegations against Clarke “for a very long period of time”. Howlett read the messages, but failed to respond. He did however find the time to visit a ‘gin bar’ in his constituency.
Is Howlett being lent on to keep silent and protect Feldman, or was his initial allegation incorrect? Why, after bravely speaking out two weeks ago, is he now refusing to clear up this crucial point once and for all? Hardly encouraging when there are already allegations of a cover up. Either Lord Feldman and Ben Howlett is not telling the truth. Which is it?
Lord Feldman’s line since he was dragged into the Tory bullying scandal has been that he was “wholly unaware” of allegations against Mark Clarke until August 2015. On 18 November, a Conservative spokesman said:
“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.”
On 22 November, Feldman himself told the Mail on Sunday:
“I was wholly unaware of allegations of bullying and inappropriate sexual conduct by Mr Clarke prior to August 2015”
Does this stand up to scrutiny?
Feldman received a memo detailing a series of complaints about Mark Clarke in summer 2014. In the memo, Paul Abbott, chief of staff to Grant Shapps, warned Feldman about Clarke’s behaviour. Crucially, Abbott told Feldman that Clarke should not be employed by CCHQ. Instead of heeding this warning, Feldman and Shapps told Abbott that Clarke’s appointment was proving successful and he should “make it work“. This dynamite memo blows apart Feldman’s repeated on-the-record insistence that he was “wholly unaware” of complaints about Clarke before August 2015.
Tory MP Ben Howlett told Newsnight‘s report into the Tory bullying scandal that “Lord Feldman has been well aware of all of this for a very long period of time”. The key question Clifford Chance should ask the Tory party chairman is:
- Why did Lord Feldman insist he was “wholly unaware” of the allegations before August 2015, despite Ben Howlett’s testimony that his party chairman knew “for a very long period of time” – and despite Feldman receiving complaints about Clarke in summer 2014?
On Saturday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said he had “full confidence” in Lord Feldman. That’s what they said about Shapps 48 hours before he quit…
Guido has been leaked a cache of private Facebook messages sent by Alexandra Paterson, the chairman of the Tory youth wing who was Rob Halfon’s lover and a close ally of scandal-hit Mark Clarke. In the messages, Paterson faces accusations that she has been bullying young Tory activists. She insists “there are reasons we do things” and that Clarke “gets very angry” when people make him look “bad”:
In one message, written before Elliott Johnson’s death and before Elliott and Clarke had fallen out, Paterson warns a Tory activist that she and Clarke “sanctioned” Elliott’s Tory youth gossip blog. She says threateningly: “just bare that in mind going forward”. Paterson then reveals she knows the activist has complained about her behaviour, claiming “things always will get back to me“:
In another separate message, Paterson warns a “young” Tory that she has the power to “protect” them, but “I can’t if you don’t do” what she orders:
Paterson’s claim that complaints about her conduct will “always” get back to her is interesting considering Mark Clarke also obtained the names of activists who had complained about him. The rest sounds like a bad gangster movie…
Nicola Sturgeon is considering action against scandal-hit Nat Natalie McGarry. The SNP leader told the BBC:
“Obviously I’m aware of the concern that Women for Independence has raised and has reported to the police about alleged discrepancies in their funding. These are of course very serious allegations. It’s also important to say that Natalie McGarry is adamant that she has done absolutely nothing wrong. Right now, beyond the generality of those concerns, I don’t have detail about the basis or the substance of them but I will consider and continue to consider the matter very carefully and if there is action I think the SNP are required to take then that action will be taken.”
Awkwardly, the complaints to the police about financial irregularities at McGarry’s Women for Independence campaign group were made by no fewer than seven SNP candidates. It is alleged that the only person with access to the group’s PayPal account, from which £30,000 went missing, was McGarry. The Glasgow East MP has since protected her Twitter account from public view, despite previously pledging to constituents that:
“Politicians need to be responsible to the people they represent, and that means being open and accessible … I won’t hide away behind closed doors”
Friends who can still see her tweets say her most recent posts are on her nuptial planning, buying a dress and going to wedding fayres. Meanwhile her Electoral Commission returns are being pored over as we speak…