What we’re being told is that a dossier containing bullying allegations was “made available” to Lord Feldman. It’s entirely possible that this is accurate – and he simply chose not to read it.
Perhaps somebody should ask that – fair, important and relevant – question?
A senior government minister has launched an attack on the BBC’s Newsnight for conducting a “witch-hunt” against the Tory chairman Lord Feldman, after it reported that he was given a dossier five years ago containing allegations of bullying in the party’s youth wing.
Nick Boles, a business minister, accused the programme of being a “sinking ship desperately trying to reassert its political relevance” after it aired claims that Feldman had been warned about the alleged behaviour of the election aide Mark Clarke years ago.
The Tory chairman is under pressure to resign following the allegations of blackmail, bullying, and sexual harassment that have engulfed the party, which has been investigating accusations against Clarke since August.
A string of serious allegations against Clarke emerged after the apparent suicide in September of Elliott Johnson, a 21-year-old activist, who left a note naming the election aide as one of his alleged bullies. Clarke denies all allegations against him and has threatened legal action for defamation.
Amid signs that Downing Street is pulling out the stops to protect Feldman, who is a university friend and tennis partner of David Cameron, Boles intervened with an article in ConservativeHome.
The existence of an alleged dossier was revealed to the BBC programme by Patrick Sullivan, who runs the Conservative thinktank Parliament Street. Sullivan claims it contains warnings about Clarke and was made available to Feldman as long ago as 2010.
In response, Feldman said he was unaware of any allegations of bullying in the party’s youth wing until August this year – a position he has maintained from the start. “Such behaviour is abhorrent to me and had this been brought to my attention, I would have taken immediate action to investigate,” he added.
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