It seems that former Tory chairman Grant Shapps, who resigned from the government in disgrace amid accusations he had been warned about bullying in the party before the death of one of its young activists, may have done so to protect David Cameron.
Shapps was forced to quit as a minister for international development after the father of 21-year-old Elliott Johnson claimed his son would still be alive if Shapps and Andrew Feldman, the current Tory chair, had behaved responsibly when made aware of the behaviour of one its senior organisers.
But it has also been revealed that David Cameron had written to Mark Clarke, the Tory at the centre of the allegations of bullying, thanking him for his work running the RoadTrip initiative that ferried activists around the country during the general election campaign. “We quite simply could not have done it without you,” the letter read.
Protecting senior Party members now seems the only reason any Tory bothers to resign and Shapps – already damaged goods due to his previous behaviour – seems to have become the sacrificial lamb.
His claim, “I have come to the conclusion that the buck should stop with me,” seems a clear attempt to draw a line under the case, as far as the Tory leadership is concerned – leaving Cameron’s reputation unblemished by the affair.
Now consider Cameron’s reaction to the allegations, made prior to Shapps’ resignation, according to this Guardian report:
The first sign of Shapps’ downfall came at a press conference at lunchtime on Saturday in Malta, where Commonwealth leaders are attending a summit. Repeatedly asked by reporters to offer the minister his full support, Cameron, who had been due to talk about efforts to combat corruption, pointedly refused to do so.
A visibly discomforted Cameron instead told reporters that he “felt deeply” for the Johnson’s parents. “On Grant Shapps there will be a statement made later on today about that issue,” he said.
Was he distancing himself from his colleague, having already ordered Shapps to fall on his proverbial sword?
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