Tory MP Mark Menzies Loses Whip as Investigation Launched Into Incident

The Conservative MP for Fylde in Lancashire has relinquished the party whip as an investigation gets under way into claims made against him by an aide.
Tory MP Mark Menzies Loses Whip as Investigation Launched Into Incident
Undated handout photo issued by UK Parliament of Mark Menzies who is the Conservative MP for Fylde. (UK Parliament/PA)
Chris Summers
4/18/2024
Updated:
4/18/2024
0:00

A Conservative MP has lost the party whip as an investigation has begun into claims in a national newspaper that he misused campaign funds.

The Times of London claimed on Thursday that Mark Menzies, who has been MP for Fylde in Lancashire since 2010, rang a Tory volunteer at 3.15 a.m. one night in December 2023, saying he was locked in a flat and needed £5,000 as a matter of “life and death.”

The paper claimed the sum Mr. Menzies requested rose to £6,500 and was eventually paid by his office manager from her personal bank account, and was then reimbursed from funds raised from party donors.

Mr. Menzies, who had a majority of 16,611 at the last general election, disputes the allegations but the Conservative Party has launched an investigation.

A spokeswoman for the party’s chief whip, Simon Hart, said Mr. Menzies had “agreed to relinquish the Conservative whip, pending the outcome of an investigation.”

The 52-year-old bachelor will sit as an independent MP but it is unclear how long the investigation might take or whether he might be the party’s candidate at the general election, which is due some time before January 2025.

In 2014 Mr. Menzies resigned his position as the parliamentary private secretary to the international development minister Alan Duncan, the first openly gay Conservative MP, after allegations against him were made in the Sunday Mirror by a Brazilian male escort.
On Thursday The Times of London made further allegations about Mr. Menzies’s alleged abuse of campaign funds to pay for medical bills and other personal expenses.

Menzies: ‘I Strongly Dispute the Allegations’

In a statement to The Times of London, Mr. 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.”

A Conservative Party spokesman 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,” he added.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps told Times Radio that Mr. Menzies was “potentially somebody who is quite troubled.”

He said “new information” came to light only on Wednesday this week, prompting a conversation between Mr. Hart and Mr. Menzies, which resulted in the MP giving up the Tory whip.

The allegations involving Mr. Menzies come soon after another Tory MP, William Wragg, apologised earlier this month after he gave out the personal phone numbers of several colleagues after being “manipulated” by a man he met on the dating app Grindr.
Mr. Wragg, 36, told The Times of London he had sent intimate photographs of himself to the stranger but feared he was about to be blackmailed.
Mr. Wragg, who also relinquished the party whip, was praised at the time by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who said he had given a “courageous and fulsome apology.”

‘Worrying Pattern of Cover-up and Inaction’

In the House of Commons on Thursday, the shadow leader of the House, Lucy Powell, said the “extraordinary” allegations raised “very serious questions” and should be investigated by Lancashire Police.

She said there was a “worrying pattern here of cover-up and inaction” by the government.

Ms. Powell said, “It seems that, yet again, like with the Member for Hazel Grove [William Wragg] and so many other recent cases of sleaze and scandal, they’re too weak to act decisively and instead choose to brush things under the carpet.”

The leader of the Commons, Penny Mordaunt, declined to comment on Mr. Menzies but said the cases mentioned by Ms. Powell were “very serious matters.”

The Liberal Democrats’ deputy leader Daisy Cooper said it was “frankly appalling” if the Tories had been aware of the allegations for three months.

She said, “When our national security faces threats on many fronts, it is deeply concerning that some MPs are so open to traps, threats, and manipulations.”

Mr. Menzies was born and grew up in Scotland and is a former member of the International Development Select Committee, the House of Commons Finance Committee, and the Transport Select Committee.

The Epoch Times sought to contact Mr. Menzies regarding the allegations but did not receive a response.

PA Media contributed to this report.