Senior Tory Christopher Shale was found dead in a Glastonbury toilet hours after receiving a phone call from No. 10 Downing street warning him that a leaked memo was going to be published in a Sunday newspaper.
Shale was found dead in a portable toilet in the VIP section of Glastonbury Festival, apparently having had a heart attack.
Festival organiser Michael Eavis initially said he believed it was a ‘suicide situation’, however this has been denied by the police.
Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken out about Shale’s death, calling the 56-year-old a “rock”.
Shale was chairman of the Conservative association which covers Cameron’s constituency of Witney, Oxfordshire.
On Sunday, while at Glastonbury Festival with his wife Nikki and their family, Shale received a call from Barry Norton, the Prime Minister’s election agent, warning him that an article, due to be published by the Mail on Sunday the following day, would reveal a critical memo that he had written about the failings of the Conservative party.
In the memo, Shale describes parts of the Tory party as “crass and grasping” and said that, “we are not always a group of people to whom many of our potential members are going to be magnetically drawn.”
However, according to Downing Street, Shale was not being rebuked for the memo and his death was not related.
A senior party source said the heart attack was "just a dreadful coincidence", adding: "The story in the Mail on Sunday did not concern us that much."
Norton claims that Shale was in good spirits and not overly concerned about the leaked memo, saying: "He was absolutely in good health. We understand that his death has been as the result of a heart attack, that is the information we have. There's a history of that in his family and anything to the contrary, at the moment, is totally scurrilous."
David Cameron has spoken of his sadness at Shale’s death. “A big rock in my life has suddenly been rolled away,” he said.
Early reports of the death, including one from Michael Eavis, suggesting that Shale had killed himself, were dismissed as inaccurate.
Avon and Somerset police said that Shale’s death was not being treated as suspicious.
Here's what Christopher Shale said about the Tory party in his memo.
"Collectively, we are not always an appealing proposition. Over the years we have come across as graceless, voracious, crass, always on the take.
"People think we’ll beg and steal from them. And they’re right.
"When we are together we are not always a group of people to whom many of our potential members are going to be magnetically drawn. ‘When we come together as a group we sometimes morph into something different, less attractive. Our environment alters us.
"We must look different – when we communicate, when we’re together. We must sound different – in what we say, how we say it, the language we use, our tone of voice. We must behave differently – try to see ourselves as others see us.
"It’s what, pre-2005, DC used to call double ham and eggs: We’ve offered them ham and eggs repeatedly. They don’t want it. So how can the solution possibly be double ham and eggs?
"West Oxfordshire Conservative Association is, in effect, going into the event-management business. The association needs to offer events with “money-can’t-buy” appeal. (Such as) the PMQ DIY Lunch: Bring your own sandwiches to watch PMQs [Prime Minister’s Questions] in a different fine country house in the constituency every week; glass of wine, cup of coffee, informal discussion, yours for a fiver."