Tory mayoral candidate refused to allow partying advisor to run his campaign

Laura Kuenssberg steps in when guest says k**b

A frontrunner on track to become the Tory candidate for mayor of London has claimed he was blocked by the party partly for refusing to have any involvement with a controversial advisor mired in Partygate allegations and awarded a gong in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours.

Samuel Kasumu had a number of senior backers, including Cabinet Ministers and the former Home Secretary Priti Patel; significant media coverage and popular policies. Despite this, he failed to make the top seven candidates.

At the time allies told the Express this was partly to do with his closeness to Boris Johnson, and also controversial pro-housing policies that clashed with the official party line.

However Mr Kasumu has now claimed his refusal to allow top Tory advisor Ben Mallett any involvement in his campaign also cost him the nomination.

Speaking on Times Radio this morning, he said there was “controversy around who was going to run my campaign”.

“One of the people that was in the room, who was part of the board said to me ‘Samuel, the only way you’re gonna get on this long list is if Ben Mallett runs your campaign, because every single candidate has to agree for him to run your campaign’.

“And, you know, he ran Sean Bailey’s campaign, and he’s nice guy, I know him personally.”

He told the show that he refused to agree to that, forcing him to make a choice between demonstrating a willingness to “bend to the establishment or fight for your principals”.

Mr Mallett hit the headlines yet again last night after the Mirror published a video of a party in CCHQ during Covid restrictions when such gatherings were banned.

Mr Mallett was seen in braces holding a glass of wine, while those around him admitted they knew the gathering was “breaking the rules”.

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The Express then exclusively revealed that Ben Mallett was to be awarded an OBE in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list, a move opposition parties are now calling on Rishi Sunak to block.

Mr Kasumu said his refusal to have Mr Mallett join his campaign wasn’t the only factor, “but it was a significant factor”.

He added it “was just not something I was comfortable with”.

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Mr Mallett has since taken over the campaign of rival candidate Moz Hossain, who raised eyebrows when making the final three despite almost no public profile or name recognition.

He was also pictured lounging on the floor of a group photo from the CCHQ party, first reported by the Mirror in December 2021.

At the time the Met Police declined to investigate saying the photo alone did not provided enough evidence of rule breaking.

This morning Michael Gove said it would not be right for a politician to say what the police should or should not investigate.

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