Conservative MP Mark Menzies says he intends to set “the record straight” after newspapers reported allegations by a Brazilian male escort.
The MP for Fylde in Lancashire resigned yesterday as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to International Development Minister Alan Duncan after an investigation by the Sunday Mirror.
The paper reported a series of allegations about Mr Menzies’ private life which it said had been made by the Brazilian man, including claims that the MP paid him for sex and asked him to buy an illegal drug.
Rogerio Santos, who lives in the Brazilian city Sao Paulo, said: “I have been having sex with a Conservative MP for money. Mark asked me to buy methedrone. I have personal messages of him talking to me about drugs.”
Mr Santos also reportedly claimed he had overstayed on his student visa and was in the UK illegally, although it is understood Mr Menzies was unaware of his immigration status.
In a statement, the MP said: “I have decided to resign as a PPS after a series of allegations were made against me in a Sunday newspaper. A number of these allegations are not true and I look forward to setting the record straight in due course.”
A senior local Tory in Fylde said the MP was considering his response to the claims. Councillor Brenda Ackers, the chair of Fylde Conservatives until last week, when, in an unrelated event, she stepped down from the position, said: “He’s obviously very shocked and needs time to consider his answer to these allegations.
“He has the total support of myself and two other members of the management team, they both support Mark also. The wider membership has not been spoken to, I think probably a lot of them don’t know anything yet.”
Asked how she thought party members would react, Councillor Ackers said: “Very upset I imagine, both on Mark’s behalf and the fact that we like things to run smoothly in Fylde.”
Mr Menzies, 42, has been active in the Conservative Party since he was 16.
He studied economics and social history at the University of Glasgow, and later joined Marks and Spencer as a graduate trainee.
He was elected an MP in 2010. Before working for Mr Duncan he was PPS – an unsalaried role and not technically part of the government – to the housing and climate change ministers.
Mr Duncan is the first openly gay Conservative MP.
“I came here to abstain, but I have listened to the debate like I have listened to no other, and it is now my intention not to abstain, but to support the bill,” he said.