The Tory Party’s little local difficulty over bullying, which was precipitated by the death of young activist Elliott Johnson, has not gone away, despite the relative quiet of the festive season, and to underscore this, another effort by the Mail On Sunday’s political editor Simon Walters has brought us “MP who was pictured 'embracing young researcher' says the photo was faked by henchman of suspended Tatler Tory”.
Donal Blaney not being totally repulsed by the presence of Mark Clarke and his sidekick André Walker
So what’s the story? “Friends of Tory MP David Morris say he believes Andre Walker, one of [Mark] Clarke’s cronies, was behind a doctored picture of the MP with his blonde researcher sitting on his lap, which appeared in a newspaper … Alexandra Swann, then 23, the researcher portrayed as sitting on Mr Morris’s lap, also suggested the image was ‘doctored’”. Walker denies being the culprit.
One of those ever-useful “friends” of the MP has observed “Alexandra was not sitting across his knee like that so the picture was clearly a Photoshop job. Those aren’t David’s hands – his right index finger is crooked and an inch shorter than it should be from a bad break years ago. And surely in the mirror, David’s hair should be parted on the left? The club owners have also told him that doesn’t look like their place”.
So far, so much routine dirty tricks, but then readers are told “Mr Morris’s friends said Tory whips suspected Walker was involved in the stunt. They also say Walker suggested the MP call [Donal] Blaney for help in dealing with the story and that Walker accompanied him when he met Mr Blaney, who agreed to write a warning letter to the paper for £600. There is no suggestion Mr Blaney was involved in the photo stunt”.
At this point, regular Zelo Street readers may be experiencing a sense of déjà vu: only three weeks ago, another MoS article on the bullying scandal told that “Blaney asked Elliott [Johnson] to pay him £400 an hour for legal advice over a minor matter … Blaney also charged young Tory activists smeared by Clarke’s gang for legal advice”.
As a result of the latest revelations, Zelo Street has been making enquiries, and has been informed that there have been “many” instances of young activists being subjected to threats and smears from those believed to have been connected to Mark Clarke and his pals, and then being referred to Blaney - then Clarke’s friend - for legal advice.
Anyone who has further information about this - all information will remain confidential and this blog protects its sources - is invited to get in touch, using the email address at right.
In the meantime, I will be familiarising myself with Chapter 3 of the Solicitors Regulation Authority code of conduct, which addresses “Conflicts of interests”, and tells that “You can never act where there is a conflict, or a significant risk of conflict, between you and your client”. I am sure Donal Blaney is familiar with the idea. More on this one soon.
Oh the FRIENDS......Do they mean the ones at Vauxhall Cross?
Alexandra Swann has taken part in some very serious incidents with others during her time in UKIP. The victims are in receipt of that information as are criminal lawyers. The main question is whether Swann, William Hanley or Andre Walker were anywhere near Elliott Johnson on the night he took his own life.
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