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Kay Burley Confronts Minister On Mark Menzies Saga

Kay Burley Confronts Minister On Mark Menzies Saga

Kay Burley cornered a minister over the Conservatives’ handling of the saga around former Tory Mark Menzies in an awkward Sky News clash on Monday.

Menzies resigned from the party on Sunday and announced he would not be standing at the next general election, days after allegations he had misused campaign funds emerged.

He denied all claims against him. A Tory Party investigation found he had not misused funds because he had taken money from a group outside of the main Conservative remit.

However, the Sky News presenter still pressed foreign minister Andrew Mitchell over the messy incident.

Burley asked: “What most offended you about [Mark Menzies]′ actions?

“Was it the misuse of funds, was it his questionable behaviour over many years or was it [him] asking a member of his team to go to a potential crime scene, with a bag load of cash, where she was already told, ‘bad men are inside’?”

Mitchell replied: “I’ve been in Washington until yesterday doing my job as the minister for international development.”

Burley refused to take that as answer, only for Mitchell to say: “I’m not fully conversant with all the details.”

“Well, you should be,” the presenter noted.

Mitchell continued: “What I am clear about is that the Conservative Party has properly investigated this matter.

“It’s done it in a timely way, which respects the rights of all parties, lessons will be learnt.”

Burley laughed and said: “What does that mean?”

According to The Times – which first broke the story – the Tories had been aware of the allegations for three months, but had not taken any action.

Burley asked again: “Are you more offended by the funds or the fact that a junior member of his team was told to go with a bag-load of cash where she had been told bad men were inside? That’s disgraceful.”

“I don’t think his actions were those one has the right to expect from a member of parliament and that is why he no longer has the whip and is no longer a member of the Conservative Party,” Mitchell said.

Burley pushed: “Should he step down altogether or are you quite relieved that he’s waiting until the next election so there’s not another by-election?”

Mitchell said that was not a matter for the Tories anymore.

Burley said: “So you’re very happy that the party have handled this in exactly the right way?”

Mitchell just replied that the party has handled it in a “way that handles the rights of the individuals” involved, and that he does not “criticise the party over the speed with which it handled this”.

“Would you expect a Conservative aide to have to behave in this manner, taking a bag load of cash to a place that isn’t safe?” Burley asked again.

Mitchell replied: “That is why we are looking at the issue of a whistleblowers’ rights, and doing a retraining of those in the Conservative Association to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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