Tycoon and Tory adviser are accused of ‘bullying’ former MP Charlotte Leslie in row over Middle East group
- Tory tycoon and senior adviser accused of ‘bullying’ former MP Charlotte Leslie
- Comments came during an explosive Commons debate regarding her treatment
- MPs criticised Tory adviser Carl Hunter and multi-millionaire Mohamed Amersi
A Tory tycoon and a senior Conservative adviser were yesterday accused of trying to ‘bully’ former MP Charlotte Leslie.
The comments came during an explosive Commons debate regarding her treatment.
MPs across the parliamentary divide criticised prominent Conservative adviser Carl Hunter and multi-millionaire Tory donor Mohamed Amersi.
Ex-Bristol North West Tory MP Miss Leslie fell out with Mr Amersi last year after she claimed he tried to use his wealth to take over a Tory group run by her which aims to boost UK-Middle East relations.
Mr Amersi, who then launched his own Tory Middle East group, Comena, to rival Miss Leslie’s Conservative Middle East Council, fiercely denies any wrongdoing.
Conservative adviser Carl Hunter and multi-millionaire Tory donor Mohamed Amersi (pictured) were yesterday accused of trying to ‘bully’ former MP Charlotte Leslie
It follows Wednesday’s disclosure by the Daily Mail of shocking leaked phone calls between Mr Hunter and Miss Leslie.
In the calls, Mr Hunter told her she needed to ‘consider being able to walk the dog at night’ if she refused to apologise to Mr Amersi. Miss Leslie complained to the police about the ‘sinister’ calls.
There is no suggestion Mr Amersi was aware of the nature of Mr Hunter’s conversations with Miss Leslie or instructed him to speak to her in the way he did. During yesterday’s debate, ex-Tory Cabinet minister David Davis said Mr Hunter ‘engaged in bullying and egregious behaviour’ towards Miss Leslie when he ‘tried to broker peace’ between her and Mr Amersi.
And Labour MP Liam Byrne said: ‘What on earth is going on in this country when people like this are able to issue threats to anyone – never mind former MPs?’
Last night Mr Amersi denied trying to ‘intimidate’ Miss Leslie and accused her of ‘trying to portray herself as the victim when the reverse is true’.
He claimed Mr Davis and Mr Byrne had ‘hidden behind Parliamentary privilege to recycle false allegations’ against him in a dossier compiled by Miss Leslie.
He hoped to meet the two MPs to ‘explain the truth’ about his ‘business dealings and relationships in Russia so they can retract their remarks’. Mr Hunter declined to comment.
Ex-Bristol North West Tory MP Miss Leslie (pictured) fell out with Mr Amersi last year after she claimed he tried to use his wealth to take over a Tory group run by her which aims to boost UK-Middle East relations
Mr Davis told MPs that Mr Amersi ‘tried to force his way to becoming CMEC chair – ‘because he saw it as his route to a knighthood’ and had ‘used his wealth and influence to try to bully Miss Leslie into silence.’
He continued: ‘Mr Amersi is used to getting his way. He throws money at a problem in an attempt to make it go away. Ms Leslie has been subject to this legal harassment for a year now.’
Sir Bob Neill, chairman of the Commons Justice Committee, told the debate she had been subjected to ‘utterly disgraceful intimidation.’
Labour MP Liam Byrne said Mr Hunter told Miss Leslie that if she did not apologise to Mr Amersi her legal dispute with him had ‘all possibility of going further to a really gruesome stage.’
Mr Byrne said: ‘What on earth is going on in this country when people like this are able to issue threats to anyone – never mind former MPs?’
There is no suggestion Mr Amersi was aware of the nature of Mr Hunter’s conversations with Miss Leslie or instructed him to speak to her in the way he did. Pictured: Mr Amersi pictured with Prince Charles.
The remarks by the MPs were made under Parliamentary privilege in a debate on so called ‘lawfare’ – whereby wealthy foreign businessmen are accused of using British courts to pursue their critics and undermine press freedom.
The debate saw a clash between Justice Minister James Cartlidge and Conservative MP Julian Lewis, chairman of the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee.
Accusing Mr Cartlidge of failing to offer enough support to Miss Leslie, Mr Lewis told him bluntly: ‘She was trying to see whether or not the money that was being offered by someone who wanted to take over a political organisation within the Conservative Party was clean or dirty.
‘As a result of her doing her duty, she is threatened with financial ruin. If you my cannot see the relevance of my asking for protection for such people to this debate, you need to go back and restudy your brief.’
Watch Tory MP Julian Lewis demand more action from Justice Minister James Cartlidge for Miss Leslie here.