Mark Menzies won't last the week as an MP, Ruth Davidson predicts

Conservative peer Ruth Davidson does not think Mark Menzies will survive the week as an MP.

The ex-Tory MP for Fylde in Lancashire is being investigated by his party over reports in The Times that he misused campaign funds.

Mr Menzies disputes the allegations but the Conservative Party said it is taking them "seriously" and "will always investigate matters put to them".

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The report alleges that Mr Menzies rang a 78-year-old former staff member at 3.15am last December, saying he was locked in a flat by "bad people" and needed £5,000 as a matter of "life and death".

The sum, which rose to £6,500, was eventually paid by his office manager from her personal bank account and subsequently reimbursed from funds raised from donors in an account named Fylde Westminster Group, the newspaper says.

Speaking to Beth Rigby on the Electoral Dysfunction podcast, Ruth - who led the Scottish Conservatives for almost a decade - predicts that Mr Menzies will resign.

She said: "The Tories were supposedly told about this three months ago, and this is the first we're hearing about it.

"And by reading the story, it looks very much like this lady told her local association, raised the red flag, then told the parliamentary authorities.

"The chief whip then told CCHQ, which is Tory HQ. Nothing's happened and now she's quoted in the newspapers.

"So, I mean, it does appear that there's local association wrath about the way they've been treated by this MP. So, you know, I think this is a very difficult one, and I would find it difficult to believe that an investigation can be held and he can be cleared in time to stand a general election.

"In fact, I would be surprised if he survives the week here and doesn't just resign."

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In a statement to The Times, Mr 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 spokesman for the Tories said: "The Conservative Party is investigating allegations made regarding a member of parliament. This process is rightfully confidential.

"The party takes all allegations seriously and will always investigate any matters put to them."

Mr Menzies has stepped down as a government trade envoy, and had the whip removed on Wednesday evening.

Losing the whip means Mr Menzies is no longer a member of the Conservative parliamentary party and will sit as an independent MP, rather than a Tory MP, in the House of Commons.

The party's chief whip Simon Hart is said to have been made aware of the claims in January, when the former campaign manager reported what had happened.

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Sky News understands there has been an investigation ongoing by Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) since the allegations were first raised but further information came to light yesterday and Mr Hart acted immediately.

A spokesperson for the chief whip said: "Following a call with the chief whip, Mark Menzies has agreed to relinquish the Conservative whip, pending the outcome of an investigation."

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: "We are aware of reports in the media relating to a serving Member of Parliament. No complaint has been made to the police at this stage.

"We will make contact with those impacted in due course to see whether they wish to make a complaint."