Mark Clarke, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2010 election against Labour’s Sadiq Khan in Tooting, was accused of seeking to blackmail cabinet minister Robert Halfon. Photograph: Facebook

The Conservative party failed to act on complaints about bullying and harassment within its youth wing, a Tory MP has claimed.

Speaking after former election candidate Mark Clarke was expelled from the party for life after accusations of bullying and blackmail, Ben Howlett MP claimed there had been institutionalised bullying in the party’s youth movement, Conservative Future, which he chaired until 2013.

The MP for Bath, who was elected to his seat in May, told Newsnight on Wednesday that he raised concerns about Clarke’s behaviour with the party in 2010 and had talked about Clarke with current party chairman Lord Feldman and the previous chairs Lady Warsi and Grant Shapps MP.

“We’ve complained about [Clarke] for a long period of time, and it’s not just him, it was people that were attributed to him as well,” Howlett told the BBC. “I complained when I was national chairman [of Conservative Future] 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 this, for a very long period of time.”

He added: “It was unfortunately swept under the carpet in the big scheme of things, because the party didn’t want to end up having the general election result lost I can imagine, and you don’t want to talk about those kind of thing whilst an election is going on.”

Source: Conservative leadership knew of bullying in youth wing for years, claims Tory MP | Politics | The Guardian

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