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The Defence Secretary faced a grilling about Tory sleaze this morning on the broadcast rounds following allegations against Tory MP Mark Menzies. 

Another Tory MP has lost the whip after he was accused of demanding campaign cash from a Tory member to pay off “bad people” in the middle of the night, with the Tory Party accused of taking no action having been aware of the allegations for three months.

The Times broke the story about the MP for Fylde Mark Menzies yesterday, with broadcasters inevitably leading their interviews with Grant Shapps this morning with the sleaze story, much to the disappointment of the Defence Secretary. 

Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News, Shapps was accused by the presenter of smirking when pressed on the issue of Tory sleaze during a heated exchange. 

Burley highlighted how eight Conservative MPs have now had the whip suspended, as she listed disgraced former-Tory MPs including Scott Benton, Peter Bone and Chris Pincher. She went on to ask, “what is that saying about your party and the state of British politics this morning?”

Shapps replied: “I understand what you’re driving at here.. I thought I was coming on to talk about two wars in the world and you’re pressing me about some issues that I’m not particularly close to.”

“Do you think it’s funny Mr Shapps?” interjected Burley. Shapps denied finding it funny, “nobody said it was funny Kay”. To which Burley replied, “you seem to be smirking about it, I’m asking you about the state of British politics this morning.”  

Shapps responded: “I’m not, you’re just pursuing a line of questioning about something that I didn’t come on to talk about because there are two..  wars in the world going on and that’s what I was principal here to talk about.”

Burley went on: “I’m asking you what people in those constituencies should be thinking about the Conservative Party ahead of the next general election.” 

Shapps said: “I think you’re trying to draw a thread between all of them, there are MPs from other parties who’ve experienced similar problems or misdemeanours and it’s right that there are processes in place.. in this particular case action has been taken with the whip withdrawn and no doubt the investigations will take place.”

He was accused online of attempting to dodge answering the questions, whilst holding double standards when it came to allegations against opposition MPs. 

When asked whether he thought Menzies should be allowed to stand again as Tory MP at the next general election, Shapps implied it wasn’t fair to jump to conclusions, “just because an accusation is made or something is written it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily proven”.

Adam Bienkov responded: “Grant Shapps, whose party has spent weeks suggesting Angela Rayner is a tax-dodging criminal, now says we shouldn’t rush to judgement about suspended Conservative MP Mark Menzie.” 

(Image credit: Sky News / YouTube screenshot)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

The post Grant Shapps gets destroyed by Kay Burley over Tory sleaze appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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