A TOP Conservative Party youth member and Braintree councillor has been suspended from his party role following allegations about a fellow activist.

Stephen Canning, Essex County Councillor for Bocking, has been suspended as Conservative Future’s deputy chairman along with other leading figures.

Mr Canning said he knew nothing about allegations of blackmail, drug-taking and sexual harassment against former youth wing chairman Mark Clarke until they surfaced in the media.

Mr Clarke was in charge of campaign group RoadTrip 2015, which brought in young activists- including Mr Canning- to help candidates in this year’s General Election.

Mr Clarke is accused of bullying another activist, Elliott Johnson, who later killed himself.

He is also accused of blackmailing married Harlow MP Richard Halfon over his affair with a young female activist.

There is no suggestion that Mr Canning or other members of the group did anything wrong.

Mr Canning said: “I wouldn’t want to comment too much on what is an ongoing inquiry and an ongoing inquest.

“I knew nothing about potential blackmail or allegations of blackmail. No allegations did come to me and I wouldn’t have expected them to.

“I myself had not been bullied by Mark Clarke.

“They were two very separate organisations. Mark Clarke was not part of Conservative Future, the organisation I was deputy chairman of.

“Mark Clarke was director of RoadTrip 2015.”

Although Mr Clarke was no longer a member of Conservative Future, he is thought to have been influential within the group.

Mr Canning is now deputy chairman of the new Conservative Trade Unionist group, of which Mr Halfon is president.

He said: “The Conservative Future committee in itself has been dissolved and its functions have been absorbed by the party.

“I myself am still a Conservative and a Conservative Future member.

“I worked with the party in 2015 which involved a whole host of campaign days right across the country, some of which included RoadTrip 2015.”

Mr Canning became Essex County Council’s youngest member when he was elected in March this year aged 22. He is also a member of Braintree Council.

Mr Clarke, who was a parliamentary candidate in 2010, has denied all the allegations.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “The National Executive committee of Conservative Future has been suspended.”