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Three CF activists expelled from party over online boasts about a Madeleine McCann fancy dress outfit

It is being reported on various newspaper websites (here, here and here, for example) that Matt Lewis - who was Conservative Future Area Chairman in Staffordshire until a couple of weeks ago - is being expelled from the party for boasting on his Facebook page about going to a fancy dress party dressed as Madeleine McCann.

ToryBear broke the story yesterday evening, including a number of grabs of the relevant Facebook page, one of which I reproduce here.

Picture_1_5 Party chairman Caroline Spelman today described his behaviour as "totally unacceptable":

"This offensive behaviour is not only shocking but intolerable and completely unacceptable. There is no place for this sort of person in the party."

A spokesman for the McCann family has welcomed his swift expulsion but demanded a private and public apology for his actions.

Elsewhere on ConservativeHome today, there is a discussion going on about councillors' use of Facebook as a tool for political campaigning, which goes to remind us that that social networking sites can be a very useful way of engaging in political activity (as well as keeping in touch with friends and so on).

But this tale also serves as a timely reminder to anyone using such sites that whatever you write on them is in the public domain and will reflect on you and/or organisations which you represent.

6.45pm Update

Matt Lewis has issued the following statement:

"I unreservedly apologise to Mr and Mrs McCann for my actions. I completely regret my behaviour that night and since, and cannot express how sorry I am for the incredible hurt I have caused. Whilst my actions were not meant to be malicious, I fully understand the pain they have brought."

7pm Update

I now learn that two further Conservative Future members - Flick Cox, chairman of Keele CF, and Richard Lowe, CF regional co-ordinator in the North West and a councillor in Cheshire - are also to be expelled over the remarks they made on Matt Lewis's Facebook page with reference to his outfit.

CF Chairman Michael Rock has issued the following statement:

"As you may know, a young member of Conservative Future has been expelled from the party today. we have also seen two other people expelled due to association with this incident.

"The person concerned made a serious error of judgment, behaving in a completely unacceptable manner that was both shocking and offensive. There is clearly no place for this in the Party. We should all remember that actions have consequences. Representing the Party, at any level, is a privilege and a great responsibility. I know that he deeply regrets his behaviour, and especially regrets any hurt he has caused the McCann family.

"it is important for us to remember, though, that the vast, vast majority of CF members give up their time and effort because they wany to change this country for the better. The vital thing is for all of us to learn from this, draw a line under it and refocus our effrots on representing the values and ideas of our Party".

Jonathan Isaby


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