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Business News/ News / Sunak’s Tories Dealt a Fresh Blow as Cash Claims Lawmaker Quits
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Sunak’s Tories Dealt a Fresh Blow as Cash Claims Lawmaker Quits

A Conservative lawmaker facing misconduct allegations said he’ll stand down as a Member of Parliament at the next election, leaving Prime Minister Rishi Sunak struggling to stem the spread of scandals engulfing his party.

Sunak’s Tories Dealt a Fresh Blow as Cash Claims Lawmaker QuitsPremium
Sunak’s Tories Dealt a Fresh Blow as Cash Claims Lawmaker Quits

(Bloomberg) -- A Conservative lawmaker facing misconduct allegations said he’ll stand down as a Member of Parliament at the next election, leaving Prime Minister Rishi Sunak struggling to stem the spread of scandals engulfing his party.

Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde in Lancashire, northwest England, was suspended by the Tories last week after the Times newspaper reported that he’d telephoned an elderly local activist at 3 a.m. one morning, asking her to give him £5,000 ($6,180). 

Menzies told the woman he needed the money to pay “bad people" who had locked him in a flat, the newspaper reported. Menzies has said he “disputes" the claims, which are being reviewed by Lancashire police.

“I have decided to resign from the Conservative Party and will not stand at the forthcoming general election," Menzies said in a statement provided by his party on Sunday. Menzies has exhibited “a pattern of behaviour that falls below the standards expected of MPs," a Conservative Party spokesperson said.

Read more: Tories Quitting UK Parliament at Fastest Pace Since Blair’s Rise

Menzies becomes the 64th Tory MP to announce that they won’t run again at a general election that has to take place within the next 10 months. That roster has risen steadily in recent months, helping forge a narrative that many of the party’s lawmakers have given up in the face of opinion polls that have consistently shown Keir Starmer’s opposition Labour Party is on course to take power.

The sense of malaise has been compounded by a string of scandals involving predominantly Tory MPs. Earlier this month, William Wragg, a backbencher, resigned the party whip after admitting to sharing his colleagues’ phone numbers with someone on a dating app who it later emerged had been attempting to “honeytrap" MPs.

The Conservatives are also contesting a special election in Blackpool South on May 2 after former MP Scott Benton quit when he was found to have breached rules governing lawmakers’ conduct on lobbying. That comes after the Tories lost a by-election in Wellingborough in February, which was called when its MP Peter Bone’s political career ended amid bullying and sexual misconduct claims.

Read more: Sunak’s Campaign Slogan Risks Stoking Nostalgia for Labour Years

Some eight former Tory MPs currently sit as independents in the House of Commons, having lost the party whip over misconduct allegations.

The recent string of events echoes the scandals that dogged the final years of former Prime Minister John Major’s tenure in the nineties. At that time, several Tory MPs faced misconduct allegations during a period of decline for the party which had been in power for nearly two decades, before losing to Tony Blair’s Labour in a landslide in the 1997 general election.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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Published: 21 Apr 2024, 11:07 PM IST
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