Top Tory Grant Shapps suggests blocking Theresa May aides from becoming MPs led to smears
A senior Conservative MP has claimed he was subject to a vicious smear campaign after he blocked two former top advisors to Theresa May from becoming Tory candidates.
Grant Shapps said as party Chairman he prevented two Home Office aides - including the infamous Nick Timothy - from making the list after they refused to campaign in a by-election against Ukip.
In an article for the Sun on Sunday he told how then-Home Secretary Mrs May badgered him on three occasions to reverse his decision.
But he refused, and in the run-up to the 2015 election faced questions from the press about his public life – after the aides had told him he would “live to regret” his decision.
“I found myself fielding questions from the press about things I had never thought about, let alone done, like whether I’d had an affair,” Mr Shapps wrote.
“I have no way of knowing but it could have been anyone in the Home Office.
“It’s impossible to know whether Theresa May knew her team or their supporters were capable of briefing against Cabinet ministers…”
Mr Shapps condemned the “sheer arrogance” of the aides at the time and said their “destructiveness reached new heights” once they were installed in No 10.
Mr Timothy - alongside another top advisor Fiona Hill - was forced to quit after Mrs May lost her majority at the snap general election in June.
The pair were accused of restricting access to the Prime Minister, taking decisions as a small cabal and failing to listen to the advice of others.
Mr Shapps said of Mrs May: “Behind the scenes, her new administration’s obsessive centralisation proved to be both the source of her short-term popularity and the foundation of her longer-term Achilles’ heel.”
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