Tory MP Fails Five Times to Clarify Feldman Claim

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?

Dynamite Memo Warned Feldman About Clarke in Summer 2014

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…

Natalie McGarry Withdraws From SNP Whip

SNP MP Natalie McGarry has bitten the bullet over her pro-Indy campaign group’s financial irregularities. Her solicitor says “she is fully aware that this will lead to automatic suspension from the SNP”. Read all Guido’s stories on McGarry here

Bombshell Bullying Messages of Halfon’s Lover

HALFON

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…

Sturgeon on McGarry: Watch This Space

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…

Pressure Mounts on SNP to Suspend ‘Missing Money’ MP

The SNP wasted no time in throwing their disgraced MP Michelle Thomson under a bus during her property scandal back in September. The allegations surfacing against Natalie McGarry yesterday have also warranted a police investigation, so Scottish Labour have demanded consistency from Nicola Sturgeon:

Dear Nicola,

The allegations about missing donations to Women for Independence (WFI) are very concerning. The alleged involvement of the SNP MP Natalie McGarry only adds to the seriousness of this situation.

When details emerged about the police investigation into property deals involving the SNP MP Michelle Thomson you said: “There is now a police investigation under way into these matters… Michelle Thomson has decided to step aside from the SNP while that investigation is undertaken. I think that is the right thing for her to have opted to do.”

Given that it was right that Michelle Thomson’s membership of the SNP was suspended during a police investigation, can you confirm that it is also right that the same standard will now apply to Natalie McGarry? People in Scotland would be surprised if no precautionary action is taken against Ms McGarry, given the serious nature of the allegations and the involvement of the police.

Sturgeon said it was right for Thomson to stand down because she was being questioned as part of a police investigation. Well, now McGarry is facing a police probe as well. Will she last the day?

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.

Continue reading

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 of myself. The most important thing to me is to continue to repair my relationship with my partner.”

In unrelated news, Alexandra Paterson [pictured], the chairwoman of the party’s official youth wing, who Halfon backed for the position and who is a close friend of the now notorious Mark Clarke, today deleted her Facebook and Twitter accounts…

“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 undercover journalists to act as an advocate on behalf of their fictitious solar energy company. For a £7,000 daily fee.

Mr Yeo’s counsel Desmond Browne QC says the Sunday Times acted “with a singular lack of responsibility both at the journalistic and the editorial level“:

“Mr Yeo was the unfortunate victim of that irresponsibility. He says that in his last years of service as an MP, his reputation was trashed. At no stage during the lunch when he spoke about ways in which he might be able to assist the journalists, did Tim Yeo understand that what he was being asked to do was act as a paid advocate in breach of the rules.”

During his time as a member of parliament Yeo lobbied for an end to unnecessary air travel as he flew around the world on golfing jollies, used House of Commons banqueting facilities to wine and dine a group of environmental investors, while at the same time raising money for AFC Energy, a company of which he was chairman, and at one point was earning over £100,000-a-year from his green investments as he lobbied the government to stop green cuts. Nuff said m’lud…

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 £40,000. Mosley spent years avoiding tax in Monaco, returning to the UK in 2010 when he complainedI now have to pay tax here“. Don’t tell Jeremy Corbyn…

Watson’s campaign placed press regulation as his number one issue, putting Leveson front and centre of his website ahead of any other issue. What was it about their shared Murdo-phobia that convinced the German-themed spanking party enthusiast to open his chequebook?

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 March 17 2009. According to a member of the French Socialist Party: “The details of what Thomas did to Aurélie are quite shocking – they drove her to contemplate suicide”. Despite Jezza’s new adviser admittingthe facts of violence” and apologising, the charges were dropped at the request of the victim. Corbyn and McDonnell say they are “delighted” Piketty is joining their team…

Labour now have:

Corbynistas will cry that these are smears, but they are all true…

Lord Coke Won’t Face Charges

lord sewel

Developing…

Guido Porks: Call Me, Dave?

Tonight’s Guy News special has obtained exclusive footage of an unrequited lover outside the gates of Downing Street:

This story’s still got trotters…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Champion: ‘Not Possible’ to Keep Student Debt Promise Champion: ‘Not Possible’ to Keep Student Debt Promise
BBC Rich List Revealed: Salaries In Full BBC Rich List Revealed: Salaries In Full
Torbynista Greening Loses Fight for New Money Torbynista Greening Loses Fight for New Money
New Labour Spinner Boasted of Bullying Angela Eagle New Labour Spinner Boasted of Bullying Angela Eagle
Remainers Behind Smears and Negative Briefings Remainers Behind Smears and Negative Briefings
Sunday Shows Sunday Shows
Byline Fined For Defamation in First Impress Ruling Byline Fined For Defamation in First Impress Ruling
Freedom From Abuse Not Abuse of Freedom Freedom From Abuse Not Abuse of Freedom
Milne & Blonde Pictured in Restaurant Milne & Blonde Pictured in Restaurant
Corbyn Spends Evening With Assad Loving Genocide Denier Corbyn Spends Evening With Assad Loving Genocide Denier
Osborne Defends Blackrock’s Investment on Front Page Osborne Defends Blackrock’s Investment on Front Page
Taylor Review Hijacked by Union Sock Puppets Taylor Review Hijacked by Union Sock Puppets
Assange Lawyer Named as Milne’s Mystery Blonde Assange Lawyer Named as Milne’s Mystery Blonde
The Great Fairtrade Scandal The Great Fairtrade Scandal
Stewart Jackson Tapped for Davis Job Stewart Jackson Tapped for Davis Job
Robbie Gibb New No 10 Comms Chief Robbie Gibb New No 10 Comms Chief
Corbynistas Must “Hold the Streets” If There’s a Coup Against PM Corbyn Corbynistas Must “Hold the Streets” If There’s a Coup Against PM Corbyn
Watson and Wimbledon Watson and Wimbledon
No 10 Comms Director Runners and Riders No 10 Comms Director Runners and Riders