The Falklands: a reader

On the 30th anniversary of the conflict, here is the best of the NS coverage past and present.

1. Learn from history and make peace now

In this week's New Statesman, Anthony Barnett discusses the ongoing significance that the Falklands conflict has for politics and power in the UK.

2. Why Britain is in the wrong over the Falklands

In a Staggers post, TJ Coles argues that the UK has no legal right to the islands and only defends them to exploit oil and gas reserves.

3. The islands of black gold

In a 2010 NS cover story, Peter Wilby asks: as UK companies drill for oil and Argentina mobilises support, are we moving towards another, deeper conflict?

4. Why the Falklands must remain British

The Labour MP Gerald Kaufman launches a fierce attack on the Obama administration for its neutral stance on the issue.

5. What if... Britain had lost the Falklands war

Dominic Sandbrook writes a counterfactual account of the conflict.

6. Rules of engagement

Andrew Roberts reviews Sir Lawrence Freedman's Official History of the Falklands Campaign.

7. Why Maggie was wrong

Richard Gott disputes Roberts' view that the Falklands war was impeccably handled.

8. Was Mrs Thatcher right?

William Gill, checking old rumours about the Falklands war, talks to an Argentinian ex-captain, with surprising and unsettling results.


Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.