Police to contact Tory MP Mark Menzies over campaign fund misuse allegations

A Conservative Member of Parliament who had been suspended amidst accusations of misusing campaign funds to settle debts with unsavory individuals is slated to be approached by the police regarding the incident.

Previously, Keir Starmer had urged for a police inquiry into claims that campaign funds were improperly utilized by Mark Menzies, the MP for Fylde, who had also been suspended from his role as a government trade envoy to Colombia, Chile, Peru, and Argentina.

Lancashire police stated that despite no formal complaint being lodged, they intended to engage with relevant parties following the reports concerning the MP. Allegations suggest that Menzies insisted on thousands of pounds from an assistant to settle debts with questionable individuals in the wee hours of last December.

Following the public disclosure of the allegations in a Times report, the Conservative Party took action on Wednesday night. Labour reached out to the Conservatives seeking clarification on whether they had alerted the authorities.

The Conservatives have yet to involve the police and plan to make a decision after completing their internal investigation. The matter was forwarded to party headquarters three months ago by the chief whip, Simon Hart, after being approached by a whistleblower.

Menzies released a statement refuting the allegations and asserting compliance with all declaration regulations. He declined further comment due to the ongoing investigation.

According to the Times, Menzies reportedly contacted his former campaign manager, now a party volunteer, at 3:15 am in December, claiming he was held captive by individuals and urgently needed £5,000 for his safety.

Subsequently, the amount escalated to £6,500, allegedly sourced from the personal savings of Menzies’ constituency office manager, and purportedly reimbursed from campaign contributions.

Lancashire police confirmed awareness of media reports regarding the MP and expressed intent to reach out to those affected to determine if they wished to file a complaint, which includes contacting the MP.

This case marks the latest in a series of alleged misconduct incidents within the Conservative Party. The incident involving Menzies comes after William Wragg, another MP who has resigned from the party, admitted to sharing colleagues’ contact details with an individual holding compromising information on him.

Several MPs elected as Conservatives in 2019 now sit as independents after losing party support. Additionally, others like Scott Benton and Peter Bone resigned after parliamentary investigations found misconduct, and David Warburton resigned amid misconduct allegations.

When questioned about Menzies, Starmer expressed concerns about the delay in Conservative Party action and suggested police involvement. Grant Shapps, the defense secretary, acknowledged the party had been aware of the claims but received further information recently.

A source close to Menzies, as reported by the Times, claimed he requested the money after a night involving individuals he met online. Menzies purportedly visited multiple locations with these individuals, leading to the demand for funds.

The source stated Menzies paid the sum out of fear but lacked sufficient personal funds, offering repayment later. However, local Tory officials allegedly advised against repayment from campaign funds.

Anneliese Dodds, Labour Party chair, questioned the Conservative Party’s apparent inaction in response to the “disturbing” allegations in a letter to party chair Richard Holden.

A decade earlier, Menzies resigned as a ministerial aide following allegations involving a Brazilian male escort.

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