Downing Street have announced that UK International Development minister Grant Shapps has quit his post, amid claims he failed to act on allegations of bullying.
Claims of bullying have engulfed the Conservative Party since Elliott Johnson, a youth activist for the party, was found dead after apparently committing suicide.
Shapes’ hand was forced after the father of 21-year-old deceased claimed his son would still be alive if Shapps and Andrew Feldman, the current Tory chair, had behaved responsibly when they had been made aware of the behaviour of one its senior organisers.
The two men were co-chairs of the Conservative party at the time that the young Tory activist was allegedly being targeted by Mark Clarke.
Clarke, who has rejected allegations of bullying, sexual assault and intimidation, ran the party’s RoadTrip initiative, which was responsible for ferrying activists around the country during the general election campaign.
In a written exchange with the Prime Minister, Shapps continued to protest his innocence in the affair, but said he decided to tender his resignation because “responsibility should rest somewhere”.
“Although neither the party nor I can find any record of written allegations of bullying, sexual abuse or blackmail made to the chairman’s office prior to the election, I cannot help but feel that the steady stream of those who raised smaller, more nuanced objections should have perhaps set alarm bells ringing sooner.
“In the end, I signed that letter appointing Mark Clarke director of RoadTrip and I firmly believe that whatever the rights and wrongs of a serious case like this, responsibility should rest somewhere. Over the past few weeks as individual allegations have come to light, I have come to the conclusion that the buck should stop with me.” – Grant Shapps, former minister for International Development
Shapps has been replaced by Nick Hurd.
53 year old Mr Hurd is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. He was previously Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Charities, Social Enterprise and Volunteering at the Cabinet Office in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government until July 2014.