Another crack has just appeared in the line defending CCHQ’s approach to investigating the events leading up to the death of Elliott Johnson, and the wider Mark Clarke scandal. Baroness Pidding, the former Chairman of the National Conservative Convention, who has been subject to various allegations during recent weeks, has called for an inquiry “entirely independent of [the Conservative] Party”.

In a statement issued overnight, she reiterates her denial of claims against her and warns that “any investigation organised by the Conservative Party into its own handling of this sorry affair will lack credibility.”

Here’s her statement in full:

“Events over the past 48 hours have made it clear any investigation organised by the Conservative Party into its own handling of this sorry affair will lack credibility.

“At the heart of this, we are talking about the tragic and needless death of a young man who lived for our Party. I have come to the conclusion his parents are right in saying any inquiry must be entirely independent of that Party.

“Otherwise I do not believe the public at large will trust the outcome.

“I have already made it clear that allegations made against me are false. I am hiding nothing and I am quite happy to answer any questions an independent inquiry may put to me.

“I believe it is time for the Conservative Party to be put itself up to the same level of scrutiny.”