A former chairman of the Conservative Party and a minister are facing calls to step down after being accused of failing to act on allegations of bullying by a Tory aide. It follows the suicide in September of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, who had claimed he was bullied by party youth organiser Mark Clarke.
Grant Shapps, the former chairman of the Conservative Party, and Lord Feldman, the current chairman have been accused of failing to act on complaints against Clarke.
Elliot's father, Ray Johnson, has claimed that his son would still be alive if the senior Conservative officials had taken the accusations seriously and suspended Clarke, according to the Guardian.
"They need to stand down. You wonder about the people running the country whether they're fit to govern," Johnson told the Guardian. "If they had behaved responsibly, like any other organisation, none of these events would have happened; my son would still be alive and many activists wouldn't have been intimidated and harassed."
The Conservative party has been engulfed by allegations of bullying, sexual harassment and blackmail since the young activist, Elliott, took his life. It is claimed that Clarke – who is married with two children – was sexually aggressive to female activists, blackmailed other activists and bullied anyone willing to speak out against him, according to BBC Newsnight.
Multiple sources have said that they sent written complaints to the former Conservative chairman detailing the accusations of bullying and harassment. However, it has been reported that Shapps and Lord Feldman, who is the current chairman of the Conservative party, failed to act on the claims.
The prime minister David Cameron has refused to offer support to the Shapps, who is the minister of state at the Department for International Development, and he will make a statement on the issue later on Saturday.
It has also emerged that Clarke, who was also known as "Tatler Tory" after posing for Tatler magazine, told MPs that he had been offered a safe seat in the 2020 general for his campaign work. The deal was reportedly made with Shapps, while he was still the co-party chairman.
Meanwhile, a former girlfriend of Clarke has resigned as a parliamentary assistant this week following claims she had sex with him on a pub pool table. India Brummit, 25, quit as an aide to rail minister Claire Perry.
The controversy engulfing the Conservative party took another twist last night when Shapps expressed fury over being made the fall guy in the Tatler Tory scandal, according to the Daily Mail. Friends of the former party chairman say he is angry at being singled out for blame in the Mark Clarke affair by the Conservative high command.