May aide claims May didn’t need to consult security council

Written by By Jenny Rogers, CNN

Leading questions over whether Prime Minister Theresa May can hold on to her job were two alleged conversations between her new senior advisor and a former Downing Street staffer. The former staffer, Andrew Feldman, told the BBC that there had been “good light and laughter” and that they had no concerns about the manner of communications. He also said he had provided his perspective, raising questions over whether the UK’s National Security Council had been consulted.

The conversation began with a conversation about Feldman’s successful stint in charge of the Conservative Party’s 2015 leadership contest.

“He was discussing his experience of what he termed ‘the Wars’, the Westminster wars and he was articulating that, as he put it, at the time, they were chaotic,” said the MP in an interview with BBC’s “Newsnight.”

Just hours later, the newly installed Tory director of communications, former Downing Street advisor and May confidante, texted the ousted ex-prime minister’s former Chief of Staff Nick Timothy saying: “Incoming, Nick Timothy next door.”

The text was posted on the website of radio presenter and Conservative MP James Cleverly in the days that followed. The pair were engaged in a bitter row over the former prime minister’s leadership style, according to the BBC.

Questioned by the BBC on whether the text indicated the national security council had been involved, Feldman said: “I have no further comment on that particular issue.”

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The 11-minute phone call is the latest in a string of claims from former Downing Street staffers about access and access denied to them by officials.

The Beeb also revealed transcripts of three WhatsApp messages sent between Feldman and a second former Downing Street staffer, former International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell.

In one, Mitchell explains the point of the Conservative Party “isn’t actually just to be outrageous” but to “provide for the whole United Kingdom.”

Referencing a Conservative Party donor, Mitcham and Morden MP Chris Grayling, Mitchell told Feldman “you [the donor] should quite clearly know who Chris Grayling is,” pointing out the Conservative Party Treasurer is a “very prominent” non-executive chairman of a high-street bank, Royal Bank of Scotland.

It comes after it was revealed last week that Guardian journalist John Rentoul had passed on a dossier of “sexist, racist and anti-Semitic” emails sent by May and her staff, and subsequently passed to the press.

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Critics of May have long alleged that her top team is “Top Class Leavers” — an indication of her supposed distaste for tolerance of people from different backgrounds.

May has denied any racism or sexism, telling an audience at an awards ceremony “I didn’t say that, I didn’t say that. Those are ridiculous, misleading allegations.”

The case — which will play into an increasingly close contest between May and her Labour Party challenger Jeremy Corbyn — came only days after the revelation that some of her closest advisers were drawn from the ranks of the anti-EU Vote Leave movement.

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