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Mark Menzies: MP quits Conservatives after claims he misused party funds

MP Mark Menzies will stand down at the next election and has left the Conservative Party after being found to have demonstrated “behavior” below the standards required of MPs.

The Fylde MP had been accused of using party money to pay “wrong people”.

The party said it “cannot conclude” whether party funds were misused because the money came from a body outside its remit.

Mr Menzies has previously strongly denied the allegations.

The MP was suspended from the Conservative Party earlier this week after allegations were published in The Times that he called a party activist early one morning last December to ask for £5,000.

Mr Menzies was also accused of using £14,000 of party funds to pay medical bills.

In a statement on Sunday, Mr Menzies said he was stepping down “due to the pressures placed on me and my elderly mother”.

He continued: “This has been a very difficult week for me and I ask that my family’s privacy be respected.”

The Conservative Party said it had concluded an internal investigation, which found the money sent to Mr Menzies “was approved by both signatories of the Fylde Westminster Group”.

The party said this group was “outside the remit” of the Conservative Party and the local Fylde Conservative Association, adding: “Therefore, we cannot conclude that there was any misuse of Conservative Party funds.

“However, we believe there has been behavior which does not meet the standards expected of MPs and individuals who deal with donations to local campaign funds which do not fall within the direct remit of the Conservative Party.”

His investigation also found that Mr Menzies may have breached the Nolan Principles, which are supposed to guide public office holders. These are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, responsibility, openness, honesty and leadership.

His statement continued: “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 membership governance team.”

Labor Party president Anneliese Dodds wrote to Lancashire Police on Friday demanding an investigation.

The force said it had “received a letter detailing its concerns on this matter, and we are reviewing the available information in further detail”.

On Sunday, Ms Dodds said the Conservative Party – which was first informed of the allegations about Mr Menzies in January – needed to “come out of hiding and explain what steps they had taken to respond to these shocking allegations”.

After announcing the results of their investigation, the Conservatives promised to “share any information with the police if they believe it could be helpful to any investigation they decide to undertake.”

He also said that “suggestions that the party has not seriously considered this issue are patently false.”

The party announced it would train its members on how to handle “accounts that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Conservative Party” and set up a whistleblower hotline.

Mr Menzies will sit as an independent MP until the next election, meaning there will be no by-election in the constituency.

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