Tory MP Mark Menzies suspended over allegations he used party money to pay ‘bad people’

Official portrait of Tory MP Mark Menzies

Tory MP Mark Menzies has lost the party whip over allegations that he used thousands of pounds in campaign funds to pay off “bad people”.

He was suspended from the Conservative Party on Wednesday (17 April) after the allegations were reported by The Times.

Menzies, who has been the MP for Fylde, in Lancashire, since 2010, has denied the claims, saying he followed the rules on funding declarations.

According to The Times’ investigation, Menzies phoned his former campaign manager in the early hours of one morning in December, claiming he was locked in a flat by “some bad people”, and needed £5,000 as a matter of “life and death”.

The sum, which rose to £6,500, was paid by the campaign manager from her personal savings that night, and she was allegedly reimbursed from campaign donations.

The Times reported that Menzies offered to repay the sum but was told by local Tories who controlled the campaign funds that it was not necessary. He reportedly asked for the money because he did not have sufficient savings of his own, and was “afraid” of what would happen if he refused to pay up.

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It is claimed that he needed the money after meeting a man from a dating website, reportedly going to the man’s flat, then going with another man to a second address, where he was drinking. According to The Times, people at the address falsely claimed Menzies had been sick, and demanded £5,000 for cleaning expenses.

According to the newspaper, a total of £14,000, raised by Conservative Party donors for campaign activities, had been transferred to Menzies’ personal bank accounts and used for private medical expenses over the years.

In a statement, Menzies said: “I strongly dispute the allegations put to me. I have fully complied with all the rules for declarations. As there is an investigation ongoing, I will not be commenting further.”

Defence secretary Grant Shapps said the party had been aware of the claims “for a while”, but “further information came to light yesterday”. The incident needed to be “properly investigated”, he added.

A Tory spokesperson said: “The Conservative Party is investigating allegations made regarding a member of parliament. This process is rightfully confidential. The party takes all allegations seriously and will always investigate any matters put to them.”

In 2014, Menzies quit as a parliamentary private secretary over allegations that he paid a male escort for sex and drugs

Vowing to continue on as an MP at the time, Menzies said the allegations were “not true”, adding that he needed “a period of stability to rebuild my private life and continue to focus on helping constituents”.

PinkNews has contacted the Conservative Party for comment.