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Clee responded in writing to all allegations
8:00am Thursday 28th February 2013 in News
STEPHEN Clee spoke only once at the executive meeting which voted to expel him from the Tory party, apologising for some of the issues but stating that he felt many of them had already been addressed and wondered why they were being raised again.
But he provided a written statement for members, accepting some of the allegations against him while rejecting others.
According to the documents seen by The Shuttle, he denied that he had destroyed MP Mark Garnier’s newsletters, but admitted he “did not deliver some due to the weight/thickness of the bundles.”
On allegations of saying there was no campaign strategy to get Mr Garnier elected and that the prospective candidate would lose the 2010 General Election, he wrote: “I accept that I told the Chaddesley branch that there was no general campaign strategy. I said this at a branch meeting and it was simply expressing an opinion.
“I said this as a loyal member of the Conservative Party for many years. It may have been right, it may have been wrong, but in an inclusive party I am surprised that expressing an opinion amounts to a disciplinary matter.”
He went on: “There were many people who expressed views on whether Mark Garnier would win the 2005 general election campaign. The same applied for 2010. I am pleased to say, as a loyal Conservative who campaigned in the 2010 election campaign, delivering leaflets week in and week out and canvassing night after night, that I was proven wrong and that Wyre Forest elected a Conservative MP that I have and will always campaign for.”
On the allegation that he produced an election leaflet incorporating ‘incorrect issues’, he wrote: “I accept that I designed and printed the leaflet. I was trying to act in good faith for the Conservative Party cause and I am sorry if my actions were perceived in this way. I was only trying to do the right thing and if my methods were incorrect, I am genuinely sorry.”
On the allegations involving his period as treasurer of the Bewdley branch, he wrote: “I would wish to state from the outset that I have never stolen money from the Conservative Party and nothing about this is dishonest.
“I find it personally very upsetting that I would be accused of such a serious crime by the association I have worked so hard for, with such little evidence.
“In 2012 all the pledge letters in Bewdley were posted second class as we had been informed that year the association had decided not to pay for postage.
“The association treasurer later emailed me and asked what the cheque for £229 had been used for. He was informed by me that it was used for postage and until the issue was raised in the list, I had never heard another thing about this.”
Regarding the claim that he did not respond properly to a constituent’s request for support on the library gallery, he said: “It is important I make members aware that she is a card-carrying member of Bewdley Labour Party and as a consituent of mine has been regularly in communication with me demanding things to be done.
“She emailed persistently about the gallery demanding I do what she wanted.
“I sent her a reply which said 'you might be one of my constituents but you are not a supporter.'
“I neither swore at her nor was I abusive. I was merely expressing a statement of fact.”
On the alleged sending of an abusive email to the association chairman, he wrote: “I accept I sent the email and with hindsight the language I used was not the most appropriate. I sent the email in the heat of the moment borne out of pure frustration. As a loyal Conservative member for approximately 30 years at the time, I felt I was being singled out.”
On the abusive text message to the chairman he stated he had unreservedly apologised and said: “I meant no offence by it and it was said in the heat of the moment following a great deal of pressure that has been placed on me.
“I felt there was a deliberate attempt to side shuffle me out of the party that I love. The thought of not being able to be a Conservative councillor was very distressing and I am sorry for sending the text in the heat of the moment.”