Who is the Cameron family member who doesn't vote Tory?

The Prime Minister suggests that not all of his family are as supportive as they could be.

After Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg's appearances earlier this week, it was David Cameron's turn on The World At One this lunchtime. Asked about the decision of Conservative MP Priti Patel's father to stand as a UKIP candidate, Cameron replied: "it's a free country...often in families you get split loyalties", before intriguingly adding: "I'm trying to think of my own family. I don't want to reveal which members of my family ...". He quickly trailed off but the clear suggestion was that one or several members of the Cameron clan don't vote Conservative. "On the whole, they're all pretty supportive," he added, sounding less than convincing. Cameron couldn't bring himself to mention the word 'UKIP' (a fact that Martha Kearney rightly drew attention to) but could there be a supporter of Nigel Farage's party in the ranks? 

I'm reminded of the incident before the 2010 general election when Ed Vaizey, a friend of Cameron's from Oxford University, suggested that Samantha Cameron "might have voted for Blair" and "would be going into this poll thinking 'Is Cameron the real deal or should I stick with Brown?'" A furious CCHQ went on to force the-then shadow culture minister to issue this retraction: "I am very embarrassed by this. I had no justification for what I said. The only thing I do know from seeing David and Sam for many years is that Sam worked night and day on David's campaign in 1997 in Stafford and, as she said, has never voted Labour."

David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on April 24, 2013. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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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.