Mark Menzies Announces He Will Not Be Standing At The Next Election And Has Quit Tory Party

Mark Menzies will not be standing at the next general election.
Mark Menzies will not be standing at the next general election. UK Parliament

Mark Menzies has announced he will not be standing at the next general election and has resigned from the Conservative Party.

The news days after allegations the MP misused Conservative Party campaign funds emerged.

Menzies lost the Tory whip over the allegations, all of which he has denied.

In a statement, Menzies said: “It has been an enormous privilege representing the people of Fylde since 2010, but 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.”

The Times reported last week that Menzies rang a 78-year-old party activist at 3.15am saying he had been locked up.

He said he needed £5,000 “as a matter of life and death” to pay for his release.

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 total sum then climbed to £6,500, and was settled by the MP’s office manager from her personal bank account.

She was reportedly reimbursed with party funds from Tory donors.

In a statement to The Times released last week, 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 spokesperson confirmed on Sunday that its investigation had concluded there was not a misuse of party funds.

It said the money in question was signed off by two signatories of Fylde Westminster Group, which is outside of the main party’s remit.

Yet, the spokesperson added: “We do believe that there has been 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.

“We will therefore be commencing with retraining individuals across the party on how to manage these accounts which fall outside of the remit of the Conservative Party and are introducing a whistleblowing helpline.”

The spokesperson added that there has been a recommendation that the actions of Menzies may have “breached Nolan principals of public life”. 

“This is due to the nature of the allegations made, but also the repetitive nature of these separate allegations. These will be reviewed by the Conservative Party’s member governance team,” the spokesperson said.

Over the last week, the Conservative Party had been criticised for supposedly being aware of the allegations against Menzies for three months but not taking any direct action.

According to PA news agency, the Labour Party wrote to Lancashire Police last week calling for an investigation into allegations of fraud and misconduct around Menzies.

The Tory Party spokesperson said: “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.”

Once he lost the whip, Menzies became the 18th MP to sit as an independent in the House of Commons – eight of whom were elected as Conservatives in 2019.

He is now one of five former Tories who will not be standing at the next election.