Tory HQ urged to investigate ‘campaign of misogyny’ after new mother MP deselected by local activists
- Tory HQ receives complaints about the treatment of new mother MP Theo Clarke
- Stafford MP has been deselected by local members ahead of the next election
Tory headquarters have received complaints about the treatment of new mother MP Theo Clarke amid claims she has been the victim of a ‘campaign of misogyny’.
The Stafford MP was rejected by local Conservative members as a candidate in the next general election last month.
It came just days after the 37-year-old returned to the House of Commons from maternity leave following the birth of her daughter last August.
While on maternity leave, Ms Clarke revealed she had received dozens of calls from angry voters berating her for taking time off from Parliament.
She has since linked local anger over her maternity leave to her effective ban last month by party activists.
Theo Clarke was rejected by local Conservative members as their candidate in the next general election last month
The Stafford MP insisted her deselection has ‘nothing to do with Boris’ amid claims that those who helped oust Boris Johnson as prime minister last year are being targeted by local activists
Ms Clarke, the niece of former cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, has vowed to push her re-election bid to a vote of full Tory membership within her constituency
A source told The times that Mrs Clarke had been the subject of a ‘campaign of misogyny’.
The paper also reported that at least five complaints about her treatment have been sent to Tory headquarters.
Duncan Sandbrook, president of the Stafford Conservative Association, has rejected claims that Ms Clarke’s failure to re-select was due to being unhappy with her maternity leave.
A statement said: ‘The Stafford Conservative Association wishes to make it unequivocally clear that it fully supports a woman’s right to take maternity leave.
‘The Association is not a party to any information which proves that there is a factual basis for this claim; if evidence is presented to the Association that supports these allegations, these cases will be dealt with proportionately.”
The local party also stressed that ‘at no stage’ was Ms Clarke’s maternity leave mentioned at last month’s selection meeting, except by the MP herself.
“The idea that the widespread and long-standing dissatisfaction with Mrs Clarke as Member of Parliament for Stafford, which has led to her not being rehired, is a result of her decision to take maternity leave is both incorrect and repugnant,” the statement said. . statement added.
Ms Clarke has insisted her deselection has ‘nothing to do with Boris’ amid claims that Tory MPs who helped oust Boris Johnson as prime minister last year are being targeted by local activists.
She resigned as Mr Johnson’s trade envoy to Kenya in July last year following the row over the then Prime Minister’s handling of sexual harassment allegations involving Chris Pincher.
Mrs Clarke, the niece of former cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, has vowed to push her re-election bid to a vote of full Tory membership within her constituency.
She is not the only current serving Tory MP who has recently been rejected by their local party.
Damian Green, Theresa May’s deputy when she was prime minister, is also among those not automatically re-hired as a general election candidate.