Mark Clarke, the former head of a Conservative party youth organisation who is now at centre of a bullying scandal, is facing another blackmail allegation.
According to the Daily Mail, Clarke threatened to expose a “political aide” to Cabinet Minister Robert Halfon for having an affair with a married MP if she didn’t do what he told her to.
Clarke instructed the aide to help him win selection to a safe Conservative seat and to convince Halfon to back him to become an MP, according to the Mail.
Halfon himself admitted to having an affair after he came to believe that Clarke had been planning to obtain photographic material with which to blackmail him.
Clarke was thrown out of the Conservative Party this month following an investigation into allegations that he bullied young Tory activist Elliott Johnson shortly before Johnson committed suicide. Johnson left a voice recording of Clarke threatening to expose him for a minor mistake he may have made in violation of election law. Clarke denies all allegations that he has bullied or blackmailed anyone.
The Daily Mail doesn’t name the MP or the aide in this new blackmail claim, but it does name Cabinet Minister Liz Truss as someone who may have reported the alleged blackmail to Conservative Party chairman Lord Feldman.
This is very important because Feldman, who threw Clarke out of the party, is under a lot of pressure at the moment for claiming that he hadn’t seen any complaints about Clarke until August of this year.
Feldman’s version of events has already been questioned by Conservative MP Ben Howlett who told Newsnight this month that “Lord Feldman has been well aware of all of this for a very long period of time.”
If it turns out that Truss did report the blackmail to Feldman, and that it was made prior to August, it will make it almost impossible for Feldman to stay in his position.
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