David Cameron has given his backing to Tory co-chairman Lord Feldman after he denied being responsible for alleged comments describing grassroots party activists as “swivel-eyed loons”.
Lord Feldman said it was “completely untrue” that he made the remarks, which several newspapers reported as being made by an unnamed member of Mr Cameron’s inner circle.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister supports Lord Feldman’s position.”
The spokesman added: “It is categorically untrue that anyone in Downing Street made the comments about the Conservative Party Associations and activists reported in the Times and the Telegraph.”
Reports claimed a senior ally of Mr Cameron made the comments accusing MPs of being forced to take hardline views on issues such as Europe because of pressure from their local associations.
The senior figure reportedly said: “There’s really no problem. The MPs just have to do it because the associations tell them to, and the associations are all mad swivel-eyed loons.”
The comments were made at a private dinner by a figure with “strong social connections” to the British Prime Minister, The Times and Daily Telegraph reported.
In a statement Lord Feldman, a friend of Mr Cameron’s from Oxford University, said: “There is speculation on the internet and on Twitter that the senior Conservative Party figure claimed to have made derogatory comments by the Times and the Telegraph is me.
“This is completely untrue. I would like to make it quite clear that I did not nor have ever described our associations in this way or in any similar manner. Nor do these alleged comments represent my view of our activists.
“On the contrary in the last eight years of working for the party, I have found them to be hard working, committed and reasonable people. They are without question the backbone of the party.
“I am very disappointed by the behaviour of the journalists involved, who have allowed rumour and innuendo to take hold by not putting these allegations to me before publication. I am taking legal advice.”