Mark Clarke: Letter suggests Tory party chiefs were warned of campaigner's bullying before activist's suicide

Elliott Johnson's father has claimed successive party chairs were aware of Mr Clarke's reputation for years

Samuel Osborne
Friday 27 November 2015 18:03
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Mark Clarke has been expelled from the Conservatives for life
Mark Clarke has been expelled from the Conservatives for life

Claims the Conservative party were not told about the behaviour of a campaigner accused of bullying an activist, who went on to kill himself, have been contradicted by the discovery of a letter sent eight months before the death.

Earlier this month, the Conservative party said it was unable to find records of uninvestigated complaints against Mark Clarke, who has faced accusations of bullying following the death of Elliott Johnson, 21.

“We have been checking and rechecking, but have not been able to find any records of written complaints that were made but not dealt with – but we are determined to get to the bottom of what’s happened,” the party said.

However, The Guardian says it has obtained a letter, written by former party chairman Sayeeda Warsi and sent to her successor Grant Shapps, demanding action be taken against Mr Clarke.

Ms Warsi's letter, dated 20 January, reportedly accuses Clarke of publicly abusing her on Twitter.

It goes on to say: "I look forward to hearing from you as to what action you intend to take against... Mr Clarke".

Ms Warsi told The Guardian she never received a "satisfactory response" to her complaint and said Mr Clarke was "a disaster waiting to happen and this was common knowledge".

Mr Johnson's father, Ray, and the Conservative MP Ben Howlett claim successive party chairs, including Grant Shapps and the incumbent Lord Feldman, have been aware of Mr Clarke's reputation for years.

A former figure in the Conservative headquarters told The Independent complaints about Mr Clarke's behaviour were made last year - and claimed allegations about his conduct were kept in his candidate file.

Mr Johnson was found dead on a railway line in Bedfordshire in September.

The local coroner revealed he left behind a note which suggested he had been a victim of bullying.

Mr Clarke's party membership was immediately suspended.

He has said he "strongly" denies allegations of bullying.

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