The Backbencher has been informed by a source within the leadership of Activate, the new pro-Conservative youth group (sometimes dubbed the ‘Tory Momentum’), that one of the groups founding members has received death threats at his home address. The 17 year old in question, who played an important role in the establishment of Activate, has now referred the matter to the police following advice from his College. After a campaign of online and offline harassment they have also decided, quite understandably, to suspend their involvement with the group and for this reason we’re not going to publish his name. Kinder gentler politics indeed.
The Backbencher has also been informed that:
1. Almost all of those publically identified as being involved with Activate have been targeted by online harassment, up to and including death threats. One openly gay Activate organiser was repeatedly targeted with homophobia abuse. As a result Activate felt forced to remove the list of the group’s leaders from its website ‘within hours’ of the website going live (we can confirm the list was removed shortly after the site launched). In addition a number of individuals ended their involvement with Activate in response to the abuse.
2. Activate are planning a formal launch, which is provisionally planned to take place at a location in the South West of England on 14 October (though it doesn’t look like this has been finalised).
We’ll be publishing a longer interview with one of the group’s leaders, covering both the groups plans/strategy and developments to date in due course. Watch this space!