Tories Suspend MP Accused Of Using Campaign Funds To Pay 'Bad People'

Mark Menzies has lost the Tory whip.
Mark Menzies has lost the Tory whip. UK Parliament

The Conservatives have suspended an MP after he was accused of using campaign funds to pay “bad people”.

According to The Times, Mark Menzies rang a 78-year-old party activist at 3.15am saying he had been locked up and demanding £5,000 “as a matter of life and death” to pay for his release.

The sum eventually rose to £6,500 and was paid by the Fylde MP’s office manager from her personal bank account. She was reimbursed, the paper reported, from funds raised by Tory donors.

The incident is alleged to have happened after Menzies met a man on a dating app and went to his flat. They went to a second address where the MP, who had been drinking, was sick.

Several people at the address demanded £5,000, claiming it was for cleaning up and other expenses. Menzies then rang the elderly woman as he did not have enough money in his own bank account to pay them.

He is alleged to have told her: “I’ve got in with some bad people and they’ve got me locked in a flat and they want £5,000 to release me.”

The MP, who is one of Rishi Sunak’s trade envoys, is also accused of using £14,000 of campaign funds to pay for private medical expenses.

Menzies has disputed the claims, but Tory Party bosses have launched an investigation into the allegations.

A spokesperson for the chief whip, Simon Hart, said: “Following a call with the chief whip, Mark Menzies has agreed to relinquish the Conservative whip, pending the outcome of an investigation.”

HuffPost UK has contacted Menzies, who was first elected as an MP in 2010, for comment.

In a statement to The Times, he 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.”

It is understood the Conservative Party has known about the claims for three months but took no action.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “It is frankly appalling that the Conservative party have known about this scandal for more than three months and have failed to do anything about it.

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

“This saga is an insult to the British public and shows why we need to bring an end to this Conservative sleaze at the next election.”

The latest controversy comes less than two weeks after William Wragg resigned the Tory whip after becoming embroiled in a “honeytrap” scandal.

Menzies will now be the 18th MP sitting as an independent in the House of Commons, eight of whom were elected as Conservatives in 2019.