I am a former political activist. I got involved in Conservative Party politics as a student: I studied History, as an undergraduate at the University of Nottingham and, as a postgraduate, Cambridge University. As a fresher, I was taken along by a friend in my Hall to the Conservative Society Port & Policy event. At these events, everyone got roaringly drunk on cheap wine. Outrageous offensiveness was an unspoken challenge. I remained an active participant and a vocal attendee at many of the alcohol-saturated debates and campaign events until graduation.
Introduced via the student societies, from 2011-2015 I was active member of Conservative Future. I took part in many local and national campaigns on behalf of the Conservative Party.
Conservative Party Conference 2013
With David Cameron, 2013
In the run-up to the 2015 General Election, I attended several of the now-infamous Road Trip events. I became increasingly distressed by the behaviour I was witnessing and made a formal complaint to the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) in mid-2015. There was no response.
Following the suicide of fellow activist Elliott Johnson in September 2015, I formally resigned from the Conservative Party and resubmitted my previous complaint alongside an additional one. Shortly after doing so, I – and number of others who had acted similarly – became subject to a series of anonymous threats and intimidation. We believe that these threats were the result of a senior party figure leaking the complaints back to those named within them.
In April 2016, I was raped by a Parliamentary Researcher I’d met during my time as a Tory activist. This man had preyed upon and psychologically abused me for several years prior. He was subsequently charged with six counts of rape before a case review led the CPS to drop the case citing ‘insufficient evidence’. I was not his only victim. Another woman subsequently reported him to the police for similar offences.
This man continues to work for a Tory MP in Westminster, who is well aware of his background and the accusations that have been made against him. In an attempt to protect other young women from this man, I escalated my concerns to the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Leader of the House and the Conservative Party. Whilst my concerns were listened to, a Code of Conduct adopted and a more rigorous complaints procedure adopted, I believe women in Westminster are still at risk from this man and others like him. The Conservative Party continue to deny that this man, who has worked for several backbench MPs and ministers, was ever a party member. As a result, they have denied any duty of care.
I am no longer involved in politics.
I do not consider myself a Tory, or Conservative, in any form.
I have not voted Conservative in any election since 2015 and will never do so again.
My political views have been completely turned on their head, and are unrecognisable from what they once were. As an example, despite spending several years years campaigning for an EU Referendum and holding membership of several pro-Brexit groups, in 2016 I voted for the UK to remain part of the European Union.
With the exception of Twitter, I have stepped away from all political entanglements. Instead, I now focus my energy on my non-political career and interests. I continue to campaign against sexual abuse/violence and aim to raise awareness of their long-term effects and the current inadequacies of the criminal justice system in prosecuting sexual crimes. As part of that, I write and tweet about it often.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me (link in sidebar) or tweet @fenwench.