Shapps was left in an untenable position this weekend; when asked if Shapps had his support David Cameron refused to commit preferring instead to say he felt deeply for Johnson’s parents. Days earlier Cameron had publicly supported Shapps but not anymore.
Saturday, in Malta, the PM would only say: “On Grant Shapps, there will be a statement this afternoon.”
This scandal has been bubbling away for some time but the Tories had been able to breathe a sigh of relief as mainstream media headlines in the UK concentrated on Labour party strife, some real, some perceived and some engineered.
Elliot, an ex-Nottingham University student, was found dead on the tracks of Sandy railway station in Bedfordshire on September 15; a note naming bullying Tory members and supporters was found in his bedroom after his death.
The man at the centre of the allegations Mark Clarke was also accused by Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi of abusing her on Twitter early in 2015. She is a previous party co-chairperson.
Warsi maintains she complained early in 2015 of the abuse by Clarke. She wrote to Shapps but the party denied any written communication regarding Clarke's abuse before August; that was when the Tory party launched an investigation into allegations of abuse but it was too late to save Johnson.
In September following allegations that he bullied and blackmailed MPs and fellow activists to further his career Clarke was suspended from the party and last week he was banned for life.
According to the Guardian Saturday;
Clarke, 38, a consultant at Unilever, was appointed by Shapps in July last year as director of the RoadTrip 2015 campaign, which organised busloads of young activists touring the country to campaign for the Conservatives in key constituencies.
The Guardian additionally reports "Johnson also sent a colleague a recording of a conversation in a pub in which Clarke and another activist, Andre Walker, appeared to threaten him."
Shapps has let the buck stop with him having appointed Clarke but others must surely be apportioned some blame for the bullying? Politics is a dirty business but protecting grassroots supporters especially when they are young and or vulnerable should be a given.
When Elliot Johnson spoke out against bullying the intimidation allegedly increased.
David Cameron made a statement Saturday naming Shapps successor ; the party is expected to wait for the investigation to be completed and the coroner to issue a report.
In the meantime the Tory party has a lot of soul-searching to do.
The Mail Online