A leaked letter obtained by the Guardian has suggested that Grant Shapps, the then Conservative Party Chairman, was aware of allegations of bullying conducted by Mark Clarke. Clarke was expelled from the Conservative Party last week after serious allegations were made against him.
Shapps, now an International Development Minister, has said that he hardly knew Mark Clarke. However, the Daily Mail found photos which showed the two together at events on numerous occasions.
Friends of Shapps were reported to have said that he was unaware of any bullying allegations. However a letter was written by Baroness Warsi, a former Conservative Party Chair, where she wrote:
“I look forward to hearing from you as to what action you intend to take against Mr. Clarke”.
The allegations made about Mark Clarke are so serious that they were passed onto the police last week. It also follows reports that Elliott Johnson, a young Tory activist, named Clarke in a suicide letter which was found after he killed himself.
The Conservative Party said in a statement last week:
“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”.