Cameron ally dies after 'heart attack' at Glastonbury festival
A close friend of David Cameron died in mysterious circumstances at Glastonbury. His body was discovered in a portaloo.
Christopher Shale (56) was discovered dead in a portable toilet in the festival's VIP backstage area yesterday after being missing for almost 24 hours. He disappeared shortly after receiving a phone call from Downing Street warning him that a critical memo he had written about the Tory party was about to be made public.
Initially it was reported that the chair of the west Oxfordshire Conservative Association had killed himself after the festival organiser Michael Eavis told journalists that it was a "suicide situation". But friends and police sources refuted the suggestion, saying that he had a "massive heart attack".
Last night Mr Cameron said he was "devastated" by the death of Mr Shale, who was the Conservative Party chairman in the PM's constituency.
Mr Cameron described him as "a rock" and added: "He was a great friend and has been a huge support over the last decade in west Oxfordshire."
Mr Shale had been visiting the festival with his wife Nikki (55), their son Alby (20), and her children from a previous marriage.
He had received phone calls from Downing Street at about midday on Saturday warning him that a highly critical memo he had written about the Conservative Party was to be published in a Sunday newspaper.
In the memo he had stated that there were "no reasons" to join the Conservative Party.
"Over the years we have come across as graceless, voracious, crass, always on the take," he wrote. People do not want to join the party because they "think we'll beg and steal from them. And they're right", the memo said.
Downing Street yesterday disclosed that a Number 10 aide had left a message for Mr Shale on his mobile phone, warning him not to talk to journalists. Mr Cameron's election agent, Barry Norton, also called.
Shortly after getting the call Mr Shale was seen visiting a portable toilet in the VIP area of the festival where, shortly before 1pm, friends say they believe he suffered a cardiac arrest.
He was found dead in the toilet by members of festival staff at 9am yesterday.
Conservative Party sources in Oxfordshire said that the fact Mr Shale's memo had been leaked was unlikely to have caused him any undue concern.