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The former deputy chairman of Conservative Future and current Tory councillor in Essex, Stephen Canning, has reportedly been suspended from the party over an alleged assault at Margaret Thatcher-themed club ‘Maggie’s,’ said to have occurred three weeks ago.
Canning, a member of Theresa May’s 2016 leadership campaign, strongly denies the allegation. It is also understood the incident wasn’t reported to the police.
The Mirror reports that “Stephen Canning has been suspended pending an investigation into an incident in a London nightclub, during which it was claimed an MP’s staffer was “struck.”
Since the 2015 collapse of Conservative Future, Canning has since reportedly sought to establish a Tory version of Momentum – efforts that up haven’t borne much fruit.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Canning says:
I will not discuss the reports in the Mail, as far as saying the following:
I have had no allegations of assault put to me by the Conservative Party
I have not been involved in any incident in nightclubs bar standing in front of a female activist who felt intimidated by a male
I most certainly looking to launch or lead any new youth movements, my view remains that it is the Party’s role.
I deny in the strongest possible way anything of this sort ever taking place and look forward to continuing to serve the Conservatives as a councillor now entering his seventh year.
Frustrated that this has come out whilst I’m in Bosnia training a political party on engaging young people and women behalf of the Conservatives, and will be travelling, so even if I wanted to respond to any of you – I cannot
Conservative Future (with a dark past)
Canning was formerly deputy chairman of Conservative Future, the defunct Tory youth organisation dissolved in 2015 amid claims of blackmail, infidelity and sexual harassment.
Conservative Future’s entire national executive committee (of which Canning, as deputy chairman, was a member) were suspended over the affair.
The 2015 allegations centred around the alleged conduct of Mark Clarke, later permanently expelled from the Conservatives. Clarke was accused of bullying Tory activist Elliott Johnson – who later took his own life – and attempting to blackmail Robert Halfon MP over his alleged affair with Alexandra Paterson who was then Conservative Future’s national Chair.
Allegations were also made regarding Clarke’s alleged affair with India Brummett, another member of the Conservative Future executive removed by the Tory party leadership in 2015.
Ironically, Canning’s latest suspension comes only days before Theresa May is set to deliver a speech on ‘political bullying,’ during which Momentum will likely be cited as a prime example.
It also comes days after Canning’s own remark on his Facebook page about the ‘disgusting amount of violence towards Jacob Rees-Mogg.’
All in all, not a good start to the Conservative week.
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