Conservative MP Announces Resignation Amid Allegations of Misuse of Campaign Funds and Attempted Ransom Payoff

Mark Menzies MP, Parliament Portrait
UK Parliament

Conservative MP Mark Menzies said on Sunday that he will resign following allegations that he misused campaign money and sensational claims that he had begged for cash from an aide to pay off a ransom to “bad people”.

Menzies, who has represented Flyde in Lancaster in the House of Commons since 2010, said in a statement on Sunday that “due to the pressures on myself and my elderly mother, I have decided to resign from the Conservative Party and will not stand at the forthcoming general election.”

“This has been a very difficult week for me and I request that my family’s privacy is respected,” he added, according to The Telegraph.

The move came after he had the whip suspended from him in the parliament amid claims that he had used £14,000 in political donations to help fund his private medical bills.

Menzies was also accused of calling his former campaign manager in the middle of the night last December, begging for money to pay off “bad people” who had allegedly locked him in a flat, claiming he needed £5,000 — later rising to £6,500 — as a matter of “life and death”.

Previously, the MP said of the claims: “I strongly dispute the allegations put to me. I have fully complied with all the rules for declarations.”

The Conservative MP formerly faced scandal in 2014 when he was alleged by a 19-year-old Brazilian male prostitute to have paid him for sex and had sought to purchase illegal drugs. While the scandal forced him to resign as a ministerial aid to then Prime Minister David Cameron, Menzies maintained a number of the allegations were untrue and that he would correct them in “due course”.

The Tory Party said on Saturday its recent investigation into Menzies could not “conclude that there has been a misuse of Conservative Party funds”.

Nevertheless, the party said there was “a pattern of behaviour that falls below the standards expected of MPs and individuals looking after donations to local campaign funds which lie outside the direct jurisdiction of the Conservative Party”.

The party went on to say that it will be looking into whether the actions of the Flyde MP “potentially breached the Nolan Principles of Public Life”.

“We will of course share any information with the police if they believe it would be helpful to any investigation they decide to undertake. Suggestions the Party has not been seriously examining this matter are demonstrably false as we have worked to protect the identities of all those involved whilst the facts could be established,” a Tory spokesman said.

On Friday, the Lancashire Police announced that it opened an investigation into the matter following a complaint lodged by the Labour Party.

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