Father of tragic former Spalding Grammar student blasts Tories
The father of a former Spalding Grammar School student who killed himself after allegedly being bullied by colleagues yesterday urged Conservative leaders to force their chairman to resign.
Young Tory party activist Elliott Johnson (21) was found dead on railway tracks on September 15, after leaving a suicide note naming several Conservative Party members he said had bullied him.
Elliott’s father, Ray Johnson, today renewed his call for Tory chairman Lord Feldman to quit as party chiefs met to discuss the issue.
Speaking outside his home in Wisbech, he said: “The captain of the ship has to go down with the ship, not try and blame other people.
“I think he ought to resign, that’s the decent thing to do.
“In any other organisation the leader of the corporation would take responsibility for anything that goes wrong and Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) is no different to any organisation as far as I am concerned.”
Last week the party’s former co-chairman Grant Shapps resigned over the scandal, after it emerged he was warned in January about the behaviour of Mark Clarke, who allegedly bullied Elliott during the general election campaign.
Mr Johnson doesn’t think this is enough and says Mr Shapps was offered up to save Lord Feldman.
He said: “He was probably pushed. I don’t know but I think he was told to fall on his sword.”
Mr Johnson has also blasted Prime Minister David Cameron’s calls for an internal investigation into allegations of bullying in CCHQ.
He said: “There is no credibility in it. How can there be? How can the Conservative Party investigate itself?
“It’s just nonsense isn’t it? These allegations are far too serious for the Conservative Party to investigate themselves.
“I wrote to Lord Feldman well over a month ago once they announced they were going to have an internal inquiry.
“I wrote to him and said ‘No this isn’t right, this has to be an independent inquiry headed by the police to be effective’.”
Instead he feels an independent inquiry should be launched into allegations of bullying and an independent organisation should be created where anyone can report allegations of bullying safely.
He said: “The whole thing seems to be over centralised, over powerful and obviously there is a degree of arrogance in there.
“They think they can just do what they want.
“I think this is the culture in CCHQ but it is probably in all political parties to be quite honest.
“It should stop, there should be some mechanism by which young activists or anybody else can make a complaint about any political organisation and expect that complaint to be looked into thoroughly instead of being used to intimidate them further.”