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CCHQ announces independent inquiry into Elliott Johnson

30 November 2015

5:28 PM

30 November 2015

5:28 PM

The board of the Conservative party met this afternoon and finally agreed to hold a fully independent investigation into circumstances around the death of RoadTrip activist Elliott Johnson and the allegations of bullying by Mark Clarke. CCHQ has said the investigation will be ‘timely, objective, and comprehensive and independent from the Chairman, CCHQ staff and Party volunteers’.

In a statement, the Conservative party said:

  1. From tomorrow (1 December), the investigation will be conducted in its entirety by the law firm Clifford Chance LLP. This will include taking witness statements and the collation and review of all written evidence.

  2. Clifford Chance LLP will review all interviews already conducted and give those already interviewed the option to be reinterviewed.

  3. No Party officials will be involved in this process, other than as witnesses.

  4. The Crossbench Peer Lord Pannick QC has agreed to review the investigative process and to certify that it is objective, appropriate and comprehensive.

  5. Lord Feldman and Rob Halfon MP will recuse themselves from the Board meeting which considers the Clifford Chance report.

  6. The Board will publish the findings of the Clifford Chance report. However, the Board will be mindful of the need to:a.) Protect vulnerable witnesses – especially those who have asked for their identity not to be disclosed; andb.) Not to do anything to prejudice the ongoing Coroner’s Inquiry and Police investigations.

  7. The Board will continue to fully co-operate with the ongoing inquiries being undertaken by the Coroner and British Transport Police.

  8. CCHQ is also asking an ‘independent third party specialist’ to undertake a review of the party’s governance process and its relationships to those campaigning on behalf of the party.

After days of bad headlines, this is clearly a move to calm the fears of those who believed the inquiry was going to be a whitewash and Lord Feldman, chairman of the party, would be too involved, given the allegations that he was aware of bullying reports before August this year. But this is unlikely to end the calls for his resignation — despite the flurry of tweeting from loyal Tory MPs.

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