Female comms chief 'attacked' at Conservative Party conference

Clementine Cowton, director of external affairs at Octopus Energy Group, told a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference yesterday that she was attacked in her hotel bar earlier that day by a drunk man who was a delegate at the event.

Clementine Cowton said she was attacked by a drunk man while attending conference (Pic: Clementine Cowton)
Clementine Cowton said she was attacked by a drunk man while attending conference (Pic: Clementine Cowton)

Clementine Cowton said at an event for ConservativeHome that she had been in the bar of The Midland Hotel in Manchester on Monday when a man had “invaded” her space.

During the incident, reported by The Times, she said: “I was sitting down and he plonked himself down on the chair that had been vacated by a friend of mine… I asked him to leave and he refused to.

“He was very intoxicated and I felt a bit unsafe around him, so I asked him several times politely to leave.”

When the man refused to go, Cowton took his phone and dropped it on the floor to create space between them when he went to retrieve it. She said he then “came back and attacked me”.

Cowton told the event: “So sorry to dump this on everybody. It was a bit of a surprise, but I do just want to take the opportunity to say, women are often unsafe in places where other people feel safe, and it’s really important that we start to take that much more seriously as a society, and starting with the police.”

A statement from Greater Manchester Police said an investigation into the matter was ongoing and that officers had responded to reports of an assault on a 33-year-old woman at the hotel at 12.30am on Monday morning.

A spokesperson said: “Officers arrived quickly, there were no reports of any injuries, and no arrests were made. However, a man has been identified and had his accreditation removed for the remainder of the Conservative Party conference.

“Women’s safety is a top priority and something we take incredibly seriously.”

A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable and the party has revoked the pass of the individual concerned and is working with the police.”

Octopus Energy Group was contacted but declined to comment on the incident.


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