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Abuse of trust by Tory figures is unforgiveable, says party candidate Cracknell

Double Olympic champion James Cracknell took a swipe at his own party, but insisted it was still the best choice for the country.

James Cracknell grinning in sports kit

The Conservative Party is a “shower of shit”, former Olympic rower and Tory candidate James Cracknell has said in a campaign video.

The double Olympic gold medallist posted a video to his Facebook page in which he strongly criticised his own party, but insisted he still believed “the Conservative way is the best for the country”.

He said: “Two weeks out from the Olympics and if we are competing against the Conservative Party, my teammates and I would be saying they are a shower of shit.”

In an apparent reference to the gambling scandal engulfing the Tory campaign, he added: “And if one of my teammates got caught for cheating, they’d be dead to me.

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(PA Graphics)

“That abuse of trust is unforgiveable.”

His comments follow further revelations over the weekend that the Conservative Party’s chief data officer Nick Mason has taken a leave of absence amid claims he placed bets on the election date, along with campaigning director Tony Lee.

Mr Lee’s wife, Tory candidate Laura Saunders, and the Prime Minister’s former parliamentary aide, Craig Williams, are also under investigation by the Gambling Commission.

Explaining why he was still campaigning despite his negative view of his own party, Mr Cracknell said: “I believe the Conservative way is the best for the country. Freedom to succeed, protecting our national security, and personal responsibility.

“If any party deserves to have the Union jack on its literature, it’s the Conservative Party, and if any candidate should have it on their shoulders, it’s me, because I’ve been there.”

Mr Cracknell is contesting Colchester after the previous MP, Conservative Will Quince, decided to leave Parliament after nine years as its representative.

Colchester was held by the Liberal Democrats between 1997 and 2015, before Mr Quince won it for the Conservatives. In 2019, he secured a majority of more than 9,000 votes, but polls suggest Labour could be on course to win the seat.

Mr Cracknell promised to be “a fresh voice” who “isn’t afraid to challenge, isn’t going to take a backward step, and that isn’t afraid to drive the Conservative Party, the right party, back to where it should be”.

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