Mark Menzies: Who is the Tory MP suspended over alleged misuse of funds?

Mark Menzies is being investigated by the Conservative Party

Archie Mitchell
Thursday 18 April 2024 09:14 BST
Grant Shapps deflects questions about suspended Tory MP Mark Menzies

The Conservatives have suspended MP Mark Menzies over allegations he misused campaign funds.

The 52-year-old reportedly spent thousands of pounds given by donors on medical expenses and made a late-night call to a 78-year-old aide asking for help because he had been locked up by “bad people” demanding money for his release.

The Fylde MP disputes the allegations reported by The Times, but the Conservative Party has launched an investigation into the claims.

MP Mark Menzies has agreed to give up the Conservative whip while the party investigates claims he misused campaign funds (Richard Townshend/UK Parliament)
MP Mark Menzies has agreed to give up the Conservative whip while the party investigates claims he misused campaign funds (Richard Townshend/UK Parliament) (PA Media)

Mr Menzies added that he had “fully complied with all the rules for declarations” and would not be commenting further while the investigation is ongoing.

But the allegations raise the prospect of yet another tricky by-election for the Conservatives if Mr Menzies is suspended from parliament.

Who is Mark Menzies?

Mr Menzies is the Ayrshire-born Tory MP for Fylde, Lancashire, who won his seat at the 2010 general election.

The University of Glasgow graduate spent years at some of Britain’s biggest supermarkets including Marks & Spencer, which he joined as a graduate trainee in 1994 .

He has been an active member of the Conservative Party since 1987 and was president of his university’s Conservative Association.

Before winning his seat in Fylde, he unsuccessfully stood for two seats in Glasgow and Yorkshire and was then added to David Cameron’s so-called “A-List” of top tier parliamentary candidates.

His time as an MP

Mr Menzies was quickly promoted to become a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) under Charles Hendry in the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

He also served briefly as a member of parliament’s Scottish affairs select committee.

According to his website, his priorities are “UK energy security, changing the planning system to empower local communities and limit inappropriate development and ensuring a vibrant future for the defence industry within the UK”.

The MP for Fylde in Lancashire will now sit as an independent
The MP for Fylde in Lancashire will now sit as an independent

In 2014 Mr Menzies resigned as a ministerial aide to then international development minister Alan Duncan after a report he had paid a Brazilian male escort for sex.

The Sunday Mirror reported that it had been contacted by Rogerio Santos, who claimed that Mr Menzies had paid him for sex.

Mr Santos also claimed the MP had asked him to buy the stimulant methedrone, a Class B drug banned in Britain in 2010. Mr Menzies said a number of the allegations were “not true”.

What are the latest allegations?

According to The Times, £14,000 given by donors for use on Tory campaign activities was transferred to Mr Menzies’ personal bank accounts and used for private medical expenses.

The MP, who is one of Rishi Sunak’s trade envoys, is also said to have called his 78-year-old former campaign manager at 3.15am one day in December, claiming he was locked in a flat and needed £5,000 as a matter of “life and death”.

The sum, which rose to £6,500, was eventually paid by his office manager from her personal bank account and subsequently reimbursed from funds raised from donors in an account named Fylde Westminster Group, it is alleged.

Meanwhile, in 2020, he allegedly sought £3,000 to cover medical bills but did not repay the money and instead asked for and received a further £4,000.

What has he said?

In a statement to The Times, 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.”

Mr Menzies has had the whip suspended and the Conservative Party is investigating the claims about him.

The Liberal Democrats said the saga was “deeply concerning” and criticised the Conservatives for sitting on the allegations for three months before launching a probe.

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