The decision to give the activist at the centre of the Tory bullying scandal a formal role was approved by the party’s senior management team.
BBC Newsnight has learned that both party chairmen and election chief Lynton Crosby were on the board which agreed to appoint Mark Clarke and fund his campaign.
It has also emerged that Grant Shapps, then Tory co-chair, personally read a highly critical report on Mr Clarke’s behaviour during the 2010 election before agreeing to back Mr Clarke.
Mr Clarke denies all the allegations against him.
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