UK minister Paul Scully calls in lawyers over London mayoral opponent's Twitter claims

He was considered a front-runner but failed to make it to the final three Tory candidates in the selection process

Paul Scully has been accused of scuppering an opponent's bid to further his mayoral campaign. Bloomberg
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Britain’s Conservative Party has been rocked by more infighting, and this time a government minister is understood to be prepared to take his battle to court.

Paul Scully, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, is consulting lawyers after an opponent in the race for selection as the Tory London mayoral candidate accused him of scuppering his campaign.

Samuel Kasumu claimed that Mr Scully and senior members of his team interfered in the selection process to block him from being shortlisted.

Both men failed to make the cut when the Conservative Campaign Headquarters this week whittled the register down to three names.

“I can confirm it has gone to the lawyers,” a spokesman for Mr Scully's campaign told The National. He added that the issue centred on defamation.

Mr Scully, who is also the Minister for London, had been considered a front-runner in the race to replace Labour's Sadiq Khan.

After both men were eliminated from the contest, Mr Kasumu released a statement on Twitter blaming Mr Scully for his failure. He claimed his opponent and senior members of his campaign had worked to prevent him from furthering his campaign.

Mr Kasumu, a former No 10 special adviser to Boris Johnson, is understood to have been pressured by Team Scully to retract his words.

But on Wednesday, four days after he posted his claims, they remained online.

The rift between the government minister and Mr Kasumu adds to ruling party feuding and comes the same week the Prime Minister engaged in a mudslinging match with Mr Johnson.

Referring to Mr Johnson's resignation honours list, Rishi Sunak said his former boss had asked him to do something that he was not prepared to do, because he “didn’t think it was right”.

Mr Johnson accused his former ally of “talking rubbish”.

The former leader reportedly wanted peerages for three MPs closest to him but Mr Sunak refused, and two of those MPs, Nadine Dorries and Nigel Adams, resigned. Their departures, together with Mr Johnson's decision to step down as an MP, have triggered a by-election nightmare for Mr Sunak.

Updated: June 14, 2023, 2:31 PM