Fylde Conservative Association Chairman, David Jones, Issues Letter To Members

David Jones. Fylde Conservative Association Chairman, has issued this lengthy letter to members, with regard to the ongoing allegations regarding the now Independent scandal-hit Fylde MP Mark Menzies (pictured below).

Dear Members,

I’m writing to you regarding the recent allegations made against Mark Menzies MP in The Times newspaper which you will no doubt have seen or heard about since the story broke on Wednesday evening. Since then, there has been a flurry of activity as you may be aware regarding this serious issue and we, as an Association, have taken steps already.

There are a couple of things that I would like to make very clear and, despite some news reports, I can confirm that I had not been approached nor heard about or informed by anyone (including from CCHQ) about these allegations that a story that was about to break until Mark Menzies called me on Wednesday evening at just after 4pm – a few hours before the general public knew.

If CCHQ had been informed for over three months, they certainly did not share that with me as Association Chairman. I might also add that I found that action of not being informed deeply concerning and I will be writing further to CCHQ to ask for clarity. I do however also understand that an ongoing investigation is taking place and that it is both private and confidential and perhaps on that basis they were unable to inform me.

Some quick facts:

I was not approached by anybody with the complaint, and I can confirm that it went straight to the Central Party rather than coming through the usual complaints procedure via the Association Chairman.

We have only heard one side of the story to date and that has only been via the media so whilst the allegations are shocking we must keep an open mind until we have heard both sides or seen the report into the issue from CCHQ.

We have a duty of care to all those involved and I have already spoken each day to both the MP and the MP’s office manager to express our concerns and offer guidance and support at what must also be very difficult times for those individuals.

Anyone with a concern or complaint has the right to raise an issue, and that goes for any member of the Association and wider party. All issues should be directed to me in the first instance as Association Chairman. I will be contacting all those involved over the coming days to check on their welfare as we have a duty of care to all involved.

Mark Menzies MP is now an independent Member of Parliament and not a Conservative MP. He voluntarily had the whip removed.

I, nor the Association management team or the previous Chairman have had any connection to the Fylde Westminster Business Club. The Association has not received any of the funding it received and operates wholly and independently from the Association.

The Association has not made any payments, in my time as Chairman or at any time as I understand it, directly to Mark Menzies private bank accounts. I have only been in this post since June’s AGM last year as have all the senior team.

I do not know nor have I met at this stage either of the business clubs signatories, been invited to any fundraising or informed about how the club works or who has funded it. It is not under Association control and no funds from it have been or will be accepted by the Association.

If the now independent MP Mark Menzies resigns from his post, it would automatically start a by-election. We cannot insist on or create a by-election. That sole right sits with the sitting independent MP. For clarity, we cannot de-select Mark Menzies as he is not a Conservative Party candidate at this time and is in fact already not our approved or nominated candidate. In the last few minutes, you will note that Mark Menzies has resigned from the party.

I will be asking CCHQ for a copy of the report and to ask why it is taken three months if that is indeed the case to review and consider. I am also liaising with CCHQ on a press release clarifying the points in this email so that the wider public can understand our dissatisfaction.

I called an emergency management meeting to discuss this (in the absence of anyone allegedly directly involved in any capacity to allow a full and open discussion) and after much discussion the majority agreed that a by-election as an outcome would not be in the best interests of the party, the Association, or most importantly the electorate due to the high costs, given the forthcoming General Election in the coming months.

Naturally, people are angry and upset with frustrations running high. I’ve spoken to many of you and I genuinely share your concerns.

I’m happy to call a meeting in the coming weeks to hear your views as I know there is great upset with such a concerning allegation and I ask that when we meet, we seek to calmly discuss this topic as a team focused on delivering a Conservative member of Parliament for Fylde at the General Election.

I will be back in touch over the coming days.

Kind regards,

David Jones

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