DALE Iain Krieg illustration square

Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

So Mark Clarke has been expelled from the Conservative Party. For life. Within minutes of that being announced by CCHQ, I interviewed Ray Johnson – the father of Elliott Johnson, the young man who took his own life back in September, and who had made complaints (not acted on) by CCHQ.

Ray Johnson firmly believes that a cover-up is underway and that the internal inquiry ordered by Andrew Feldman will be a whitewash. I’d like to think he will be proved wrong and that some sort of justice will prevail. Am I confident about the outcome? No, I am not. Ray Johnson is right. This inquiry should have been carried out by someone independent of the Conservative Party, rather than an Old Etonian who is reportedly a Friend of Dave.

On Wednesday, Newsnight showed a film about the whole sorry saga, and made a good fist of pretending that it was they who had uncovered all this rather than the Mail on Sunday. However, they did have one new revelation, which was Ben Howlett, the former Conservative Future chairman and now the MP for Bath, opining about Mark Clarke and the bullying culture which was endemic within parts of Conservative Future.

He made the point that no one acted on the claims because they didn’t want to rock the boat in advance of a general election. But the question remains why nothing has been done since then and that all complaints were ignored – and it seems there were a lot of them.

Strangely, CCHQ say they can find no record of them. Well, I hope that this internal inquiry talks to all those who made complaints and ascertains how they were made. One imagines that they were conveyed by email. If so, it must be easy to find out who they went to. What is less clear is why no one acted upon them.

Ray Johnson is understandably determined to get justice for his son. Any father would. If anybody reading this article has information that will help him do so, they should come forward without delay. At the end of my interview with Ray, I told him that I had met Elliott a couple of times and offered him my condolences. I found my voice cracking. Even writing this, I have moist eyes. The whole thing is such a tragedy. And it may well have happened because supposedly good people did nothing. If so, they should never be allowed to forget it.

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This is the moment to put a motion to Parliament for it to ratify military action in Syria. Not next month. Not at Christmas. Now.

When one of your closest allies asks you for support after a major attack, you owe it to them to react and react quickly. Britain is becoming a bit-part player in these issues, and it’s embarrassing. Either we withdraw into our isolationist shells, or do what we have always done and step up to the plate.

Up until now, I have had little time for Francois Hollande, but his response to the terror attack last Friday has been exemplary, decisive and timely. It’s time for David Cameron to make clear that Britain will play its part in building an international coalition against Daesh – and do what is necessary.

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Yet again, another bad week for Jeremy Corbyn – and still there are some who think we in the media should ignore his self-inflicted wounds. Some of my listeners genuinely think that we should stop being beastly to the poor man, and that he’s doing his best, as if someone he should be beyond scrutiny.

Some think his appointment of Ken Livingstone to co-chair Labour’s defence review shouldn’t be questioned – an appointment that was made Maria Eagle, the Shadow Defence Secretary, even being consulted. Quite why she hasn’t told Corbyn to stuff his job, I do not know.

The same goes for Kevan Jones, her deputy – who was understandably furious with Ken Livingstone for the outrageous way Livingstone cast doubt on his mental health. If Jones was so outraged by Livingstone’s appointment, because of the latter’s experience of defence issues, why didn’t he fall on his sword?

Yet again, Labour have been shown to be ferrets fighting in a sack. As Alastair Campbell has pointed out, it’s all very well not to be elected because of people’s lack of trust in your economic policies, but if they also doubt you on defence, it’ll be a rout. Just as it was in 1983.

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Tim Farron made a speech laying out Liberal Democrat economic policy yesterday. As if it matters.

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What to call, them: IS, ISIS, ISIL? No, we should call them Daesh, just as the French do. Some people think I’m being politically correct in calling them that, because it doesn’t mention the word ‘Islamic’. No.

Even though its literal meaning is exactly the same as ISIS, we should call them ‘Daesh’ because apparently they don’t like being called ‘Daesh’. And if it annoys them, that’s good enough for me. So ‘Daesh’ it is.

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The Left is clinging on to the fact that the passport found by the side of one of the dead terrorists is apparently a fake. Ergo, this proves he wasn’t necessarily a Syrian who had got to France via a Greek Island. Ergo, none of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have come via that route are terrorists, as Nigel Farage has warned some might be.

There’s just one problem. The terrorist’s fingerprints prove he did indeed pass through the Greek Island of Leros on October 4th. No doubt the Left will come up with a reason why that doesn’t really matter.

30 comments for: Iain Dale: Why I suspect the CCHQ inquiry into the Mark Clarke claims may be a cover-up

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