The grieving dad of a Tory party activist who killed himself after allegedly being bullied yesterday (Thursday, December 10) accused a leading Conservative supporter of ‘trying to portray himself as a white knight.”
Ray Johnson hit out after leading Conservative campaigner Donal Blaney gave his first full interview about the death of 21-year-old Elliott Johnson.
In an interview with the BBC, Mr Blaney, founder of the Young Britons’ Foundation, said he did not think he bore any responsibility for Elliott’s death.
He also claimed he was frightened of Tory aide Mark Clarke - the man accused of bullying Elliott and other Conservative activists.
Mr Clarke strongly denies the claims.
Elliott worked for Mr Blaney until a few weeks before he jumped in front of a train in Bedfordshire on September 15.
Mr Johnson, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, said: “I find it hard to believe that a senior litigation lawyer would make himself the victim of bullying.
“Having not listened to the programme he appeared on I find it hard to make any comment other than the fact that he is painting himself as a white knight.
“There are a number of people who bullied my son and other activists including Mark Clarke and that will all come out in due course.”
Mr Johnson’s comments come after part of an interview with Mr Blaney was broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme yesterday.
Mr Blaney said he was “deeply affected” by Elliott’s death but doesn’t feel any sense of responsibility rather “shame at being friends” with Mr Clarke.
He added: “I can’t sleep at night, I feel consistently anxious, I can’t find enough ways to say how sorry I was to meet Mark Clarke, that I didn’t get rid of him sooner and that Elliott Johnson is not alive.”
He also said he wanted to say sorry to Ray and his wife.
Elliott’s death sparked an independent external inquiry into allegations of bullying in the Tory Party’s CCHQ during and before this year’s general election campaign.
Mr Clarke has already been expelled from the party for life after allegations he bullied and sexually assaulted young activists that were bussed to marginal seats in a campaign he ran.
The scandal has already led to the resignation of former Tory party co-chairman Grant Shapps and has led to calls for the current chairman, Lord Feldman, to go.
Before Elliott’s death Mr Clarke, who unsuccessfully ran for office in 2010, was widely tipped to be put forward in a safe seat at the next election.
The inquiry is being headed by law firm Clifford Chance and could lead to criminal prosecutions.
An inquest in Elliott’s death will be held next year.