Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps resigns as minister amid Tory party bullying allegations

PUBLISHED: 18:14 28 November 2015 | UPDATED: 13:09 01 December 2015

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has resigned from his role as international development minister

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has resigned from his role as international development minister

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has resigned from his Government minister’s role amid allegations he failed to act on claims of bullying in the Conservative Party youth wing, Downing Street has confirmed.

Mr Shapps told the Prime Minister in his resignation letter that the “buck should stop with me” over bullying claims while he was Conservative Party chairman.

Elliott Johnson, a 21-year-old activist found dead in September, had complained about Mark Clarke, who ran the party’s ‘Road Trip’ operation during the General Election campaign.

The Tory party had said it was not aware of any complaints against Mr Clarke until August.

He has since been expelled over bullying and blackmail allegations, but denies any wrongdoing.

Today (Saturday) former party co-chairman Mr Shapps dramatically quit as international development minister.

In his letter to David Cameron, Mr Shapps wrote: “Although neither the party nor I can find any record of written allegations of bullying, sexual abuse or blackmail made to the Chairman’s office prior to the election, I cannot help but feel that the steady stream of those who raised smaller, more nuanced, objections should have perhaps set alarm bells ringing sooner.

“In the end, I signed that letter appointing Mark Clarke ‘director of Road Trip’ and I firmly believe that whatever the rights and wrongs of a serious case like this, responsibility should rest somewhere.

“Over the past few weeks – as individual allegations have come to light – I have come to the conclusion that the buck should stop with me.”

Mr Shapps continued in his letter to the PM: “Given the very serious nature of what has subsequently occurred and my role in appointing Mr Clarke, I cannot help but conclude that the only right course of action is for me to step down as a Minister in your government.”

Mr Shapps added he will “continue to work for my Welwyn Hatfield constituents who have elected me to serve”.


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