Mark Clarke with Robert Semple

Ten key witnesses are refusing to speak to the bullying inquiry set up following the suicide of a young Conservative activist — because a party official linked to embattled ‘Tatler Tory’ Mark Clarke is set to review the final report.

Robert Semple — pictured above with his arm round Clarke, who strongly denies any wrongdoing — is the deputy chair of the committee, which will, errrr, decide how the findings of the inquiry are presented.

Semple’s bid to lead the National Conservative Convention was also backed by Clarke.

Senior activist John Strafford, chairman of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, told the BBC:

“The party can no longer treat its members with contempt as it has in the past and which it is still doing.”

“There is no reason whatsoever in my view why anybody who was involved with Mark Clarke should be participating and it would be a bad thing for justice if that happened.”

But CCHQ aren’t budging: “Rob Semple is not being asked to step down from the Board when the report is delivered.”

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