26 Jun 2011

Senior Tory found dead in Glastonbury toilet

Christopher Shale, the chairman of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative West Oxfordshire constituency association, has been found dead in a Glastonbury Festival toilet.

The body was found at about 9am on Sunday morning.

The Prime Minister said he was devastated by the news, paying tribute to “a great friend” who had been “a huge support over the last decade in west Oxfordshire”.

“Our love and prayers are with Nikki and the family,” he continued. “They’ve lost an amazing dad, West Oxfordshire has lost a big and wonderful man and, like so many others, Sam and I have lost a close and valued friend.”

‘Suicide situation’

Initial media reports said the cause of death was a heart attack, but police at a news conference said they could not confirm whether the death was a suicide.

“A male has been found down by the press office in the toilet area,” said Chris Morgan, Inspector for Avon and Somerset Police.

“At the moment we’re working to establish the cause of the gentleman’s death, and unfortunately I’m not able to give you any more information at the time.

A male has been found down by the press office in the toilet area. Chris Morgan, Avon and Somerset Police

“It’s only a couple of hours since this has happened, so we’re working to establish the cause of the death.”

Michael Eavis, the festival’s founder, told reporters that he understood the cause of death to have been suicide.

“Apparently I’m told it was a suicide situation this morning, in the early hours of this morning,” Mr Eavis said.

“He was in the Winnebago area and he as in the expensive park side with his family, on the other side of the site, which is off site. So it’s very, very sad.”

‘He was enjoying Glastonbury’

Mr Shale is quoted in an article in today’s Mail on Sunday as saying there is no reason to join the Conservative Party at the moment.

In a policy document leaked to the newspaper, Mr Shale writes that “collectively we (the Conservative Party) are not always an appealing proposition”, and he is critical of his constituency association’s fundraising efforts

Everything was very happy and positive in what he had to say to me. Barry Norton, Conservative Party colleague

Barry Norton, a member of the West Oxfordshire constituency association who has known Christopher Shale for more than 15 years, said his colleague had known about the Mail article and was confident it was “not really an issue”.

“It’s something the Mail had picked up on and were putting out what he thought was not a positive way,” Mr Norton said.

Mr Norton said he had spoken to Christopher Shale only yesterday lunchtime. “He said he was enjoying his Glastonbury weekend, and everything was very happy and positive in what he had to say to me.”

The Glastonbury Festival, which began on Friday morning, ends tonight.