Tory Mark Clarke allegedly bullied 13 people – but inquiry is attacked as ‘whitewash’

Mark Clarke has denied the allegations made in the Clifford Chance report [Image: London News Pictures/LNP].

Mark Clarke has denied the allegations made in the Clifford Chance report [Image: London News Pictures/LNP].

Elliott Johnson’s father Ray, speaking after the inquest into his son’s death in May, said it was just the first step in his family’s quest for accountability. This was the second.

And Mr Johnson has damned it as a “whitewash”.

The inquest came out just after the Department for Work and Pensions admitted it may have some responsibility for the suicides of sickness benefit claimants – although it claimed not to be “solely” responsible.

This Writer stated at the time that the case of Elliott Johnson could establish legal precedents about how much responsibility for a suicide may be attributed to others.

It seems the Conservative Party is doing its best to hinder such moves.

Elliott Johnson, a political activist who worked on the Tory general election campaign last year, killed himself in September 2015 after complaining of victimisation campaign by Mark Clarke, a former Tory parliamentary candidate.

He left three letters, one of which said Clarke had bullied him. Clarke, who ran the party’s RoadTrip initiative, responsible for ferrying activists around the country during the general election campaign, strongly denies the allegations.

Allegations had been made that then-Conservative Party co-chairman Grant Shapps had been warned about Mr Clarke’s behaviour in 2014 – three cases of bullying were mentioned – but indicated that he would do nothing about it.

Yesterday’s Guardian report states that Shapps’s resignation came a day after the Guardian revealed he had received a letter from Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi complaining about Clarke’s conduct in January 2015. The party had until that point claimed that it was first made aware of Clarke’s alleged behaviour in August 2015.

This seems to contradict the finding by law firm Clifford Chance, that Shapps, Lynton Crosby and Lord Feldman were unaware of any wrongdoing allegations about Mr Clarke between January 2014 and August 2015.

There remains more to this story than has been revealed.

If the Conservative Party can’t hold a proper inquiry, perhaps it should be handed over to someone who can. The police?

A long-awaited report into allegations of bullying within the Conservative party has identified 13 alleged victims of Mark Clarke, the so-called Tatler Tory, over a 20-month period, including six accusations of “sexually inappropriate behaviour”.

Clarke, who was appointed by the party to run its RoadTrip2015 election campaign, came under heavy scrutiny after Elliott Johnson, a young Tory activist, took his own life in September 2015 and named Clarke as his tormentor in a suicide note.

Eleven months after Johnson’s death at the age of 21, a summary of the findings of an official inquiry, published on Wednesday, reveals that senior Conservatives, including David Cameron’s spin doctor Lynton Crosby and former co-chairman Lord Feldman, had raised concerns about Clarke’s conduct.

However, Clifford Chance, the law firm that conducted the investigation, found that senior figures including Feldman, Crosby and former party co-chairman Grant Shapps were not aware of Clarke’s alleged bullying of youth activists between 1 January 2014 and 14 August 2015. That finding has prompted accusations of a “whitewash” by Johnson’s family.

Source: Tory bullying inquiry finds 13 alleged victims of Mark Clarke | Politics | The Guardian


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6 thoughts on “Tory Mark Clarke allegedly bullied 13 people – but inquiry is attacked as ‘whitewash’

  1. John

    Is it not the case that the costs of RoadTrip2015 election campaign were not declared within the election expenses of the constituencies that were visited?
    Police forces are investigating electoral expenses of some 30 Conservative MPs.
    Could they not also investigate the death of Elliott Johnson and the role of Mark Clarke and others in his death as part of the same ongoing investigation?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Interesting thought, but I don’t think so. They’re different kinds of investigation.

    2. tina Johnston

      The presence of Mark Clark in a photo promoting Wiltshires, now, MP Michelle Donelan, along with other named canvassers off the “Road Trip 2015” was deemed not enough evidence of the alleged expenses scandal with the Police saying that the Battle Bus never came To the Chippenham Constituency (but the contents of the bus did). Along with the alleged reports of cocaine use, sexual abuse/exploitation and bullying this whole scandal is a total whitewash! What else could we expect? The Tories do what the bloody hell they like!!!!

  2. Giri Arulampalam

    Unfortunately, there are many Mark Clarkes in the Tory 21st century Britain. Bullying is becoming normal in the British workplace.The language of communication in some workplaces is “f***, f******, f***,F***(especially by Supervisors and Managers).Supervisors and Managers should be forced to attend Literacy Skills programmes.

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