The prime minister has been forced to distance the Conservative Party from the Young Britons Foundation (YBF), the controversial ‘Tory madrasa’ founded by uber-Thatcherite Donal Blaney (above).
In a letter to the father of Elliot Johnson, a young Tory who took his own life after being the target of alleged bullying, Cameron emphasises that YBF is “not affiliated to the Conservative Party”.
Mark Clarke, the ‘Tatler Tory’ at the centre of the bullying claims previously worked as ‘outreach director’ for the group and was given an award for his “courage and leadership” by Blaney — details of which were mysteriously deleted from the YBF website.
Father Ray Johnson had accused the group of being “a cult, indoctrinating young activists” with its right-wing ideology. Cameron responded:
“I know that you are concerned by The Young Britons Foundation. I hope you will appreciate that this is an independent organisation that is not affiliated to the Conservative Party.
EXCLUSIVE Here is the letter from David Cameron to Ray Johnson, Elliott Johnson's father pic.twitter.com/VadICPuBt2
— JamesClayton (@JamesClayton5) December 1, 2015
Blaney has stated that Mr Johnson “is sadly wrongly informed” in respect of his claims about YBF, pointing The Times (£) in the direction of remarks from his late son that “YBF is an amazing organisation”. Blaney strongly denies previous knowledge of any criminal wrongdoing by others. Mark Clarke strongly denies wrongdoing.
This is not the first time Cameron has attempted to put clear blue water between himself and YBF.
Back in 2010 he claimed “I don’t know anything about the Young Britons’ Foundation” … before it later emerged he had contributed to YBF-branded materials and that his former chief of staff worked for the group.