Alexander Temerko called for a stop to the bullying of the Conservative Party
The statement in full
A tragedy has struck the Conservative party, and I along with everyone else express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Elliot Johnson. One of the lessons we should draw is that we need to take much better care of our volunteers. They are not politicians; they offer their services without asking for any reward. They are our party’s most cherished asset and we must treat them accordingly.
However, when young people join a political campaign, they and their families should know that campaigns are always very tough. We all share a joint responsibility to ensure that young people are prepared for the rigours of the campaign trail.
The Conservative party is being attacked from all sides. While some of the criticism is justified, a large chunk of it is undeserved. I can speak on this issue as someone who contributed to the election campaign not only financially but also actively, engaging with numerous ministers as well as the campaign team on areas of policy and strategy. I consider myself part of the Conservative party and I am very surprised to see so many senior members keeping silent. I would urge them to voice their support for the party. While it isn’t perfect, it still offers us the best programme for the future of the country.
I also consider myself to be objective on this issue, as I am one of the few in the Conservative camp who publicly criticises certain areas of our economic policy. I do so because I believe mistakes are being made that are leading to many missed opportunities for Britain, and I want to see that reversed. I believe we need a wider discussion of our economic plan.
We must also be more critical of the way the party operates. It must be more democratic; we should not entrust it to a small group of people who keep appointing each other in key jobs. We should take bold steps to encourage meritocracy and take steps to eradicate cronyism and nepotism.
That said, the party leadership has done an excellent job in securing an election victory by offering people a credible plan based on entrepreneurship, private initiative and respect for hard work. While they can’t claim all the credit for that victory, they led the charge and we cannot sit idly by while they’re forced out of their roles. We must show our support for Andrew Feldman, Grant Shapps and David Cameron.
Tens of thousands of volunteers took part in the election campaign, and unfortunate as it is there may have been some abuses. Inquiries are ongoing and we should allow them to reach a conclusion. Whatever the outcome, however, we have to start appointing people based on personal and moral qualities and not just party allegiance.
I am calling on senior figures to speak up for the party as a whole – this tragedy affects all of us and bringing about the necessary reforms to ensure it cannot happen again is our collective responsibility. Ordinary members must have a say in major appointments and in the composition of the board.
Andrew Feldman has done a fantastic job, both in securing party’s financial independence and in building a proper structure for the election and attracting the best campaign managers. His task now – with several inquiries underway – is to push through much-needed reforms to make the Conservative party more transparent and democratic than ever before, and to set a new standard in the culture of campaigning for other parties to follow. We should let him finish the job and lend him our full support and confidence.