The Conservative Future (CF) website tells that Sarah-Jane Sewell “will be working with the National Executive and regional officers to promote best practice to increase membership and improve efficiency, as well as focusing on Social Action and increasing social media presence of Conservative Future”. Except that she won’t: Ms Sewell has just left the Tories, effectively forced out by a smear campaign.
CF’s Deputy Chairman (Membership) is the second recent high profile departure, following hot on the heels of departing chairman Oliver Cooper. Her letter of resignation bears scrutiny. Take, for instance, “I must tender my resignation thirty one and a half months since the day I was elected to the position of Conservative Future National Deputy Chairman Membership”. Why “must” she?
There’s more: “I am left concerned that a widely suggested candidate for national chairman has apparently been promoted using the Conservative Party’s Team2015 mailing lists and the Conservative Party social media accounts. I do not believe such conduct is in the spirit of democracy that our party has always stood for and I am not prepared to appear to condone this by remaining in office”.
Do go on: “Furthermore, I worry for anyone else who wishes to run in what should be a fair democratic process. I myself have been besmirched in the most abhorrent fashion, and I have little doubt that other opponents would be subject to similar treatment from those who seemingly act with impunity. I can only hold my head high knowing that they are untrue”. Anonymous and untrue smears. How democratic.
So who is behind this less than savoury episode? Well, let’s consider a few pointers. Team2015 and RoadTrip2015 are very much the area of one Mark Clarke. And the preferred candidate to replace Oliver Cooper, the now ousted Chairman of CF, is Alexandra Paterson, who, as a look at Mark Clarke’s Twitter feed reveals, appears to be being endorsed by him.
Moreover, one of those Retweeting a dig at Oliver Cooper from the RoadTrip2015 Twitter feed is – yes, you guessed it, Mark Clarke. And who would be hosting a gathering at the Two Chairmen pub, starting round about now, “Celebrating departure from high Tory office of a former Royal Holloway CF chair” [this is code for Sarah-Jane Sewell]? Step forward ... Mark Clarke.
Behold the actions of a total and utter shit
All of which suggests that Mark Clarke is behind the campaign to remove Oliver Cooper and Sarah-Jane Sewell. What remains to be revealed is who he is working for. At least one Conservative Party account is being used – is this an official ousting, then? Would Grant “Spiv” Shapps care to comment? Or are we seeing the mark of, say, the Young Britons’ Foundation all over the whole sad business?
Whoever is behind this, it is gutter politics. There will be more on this soon.