The Conservative co-chairman, Grant Schapps, has cast doubt on reports in two newspapers that a senior Tory aide described party activists as "mad, swivel-eyed loons".
Asked who was behind the alleged comments, he told Channel 4:
Unfortunately I can't reveal the answer to that, simply because I was not there and as far as we are aware it was not even said, but we just don't know.
I don't believe anyone senior would say this type of thing, it's not an attitude or a view I have ever heard expressed in No 10, in Central Office. We respect and work with people who work incredibly hard as volunteers, unpaid, for the party.
– Grant Shapps, Conservative Party Chairman
I'm trying to make clear, I don't believe it's ever been said. You can always run a story that said there were 250 people in a room and one of them said this.
The trouble is with this story we don't know who is supposed to have said it.