Fylde MP Mark Menzies has defiantly pledged to carry on in his role and work for his constituents following startling allegations in the national press.
Mr Menzies resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretary to International Development Minister Alan Duncan after lurid claims reportedly made by a Brazilian male escort.
But in an exclusive statement to The Express, as part of his weekly column, Mr Menzies pledged to continue his constituency work.
He said: “I have been going through an extremely difficult period in my private life recently but the comments of support I have received from friends, colleagues and constituents since the weekend have been deeply moving.
“People may never know how much their words of support and friendship, including from many that I have never met, have meant to me and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
“I now need a period of stability to rebuild my private life and continue to focus on helping constituents with the many serious issues they face.”
With the next General Election potentially just a year away, local constituency association chairman Martin Chatfield has come out in full support of Mr Menzies – and claims his views reflect the overwhelming feeling he has gauged so far from his fellow members.
“The Association has responded very positively to the situation and I have yet to speak to a member who has not behind him,” said Mr Chatfield.
“The management team will be meeting later this week to discuss the situation but the feeling as I see it is that we should support Mark in his hour of difficulty.
“The Conservative party is a lot more liberal than it once was.
“While there is no argument that what was alleged in the papers was certainly not good if it is true, Mark is suitably contrite and I don’t think his position as constituency MP is in question.
“There was ‘shock horror’ when the story broke at the weekend but personally, I don’t think it was necessary for him to resign his role as a PPS and there is no need for a big furore over his position in Fylde.”
Mr Menzies, 42, has represented Fylde since 2010, when he had a majority of more than 13,000.
Since the Sunday newspaper allegations broke, he has been away, apparently on the direct advice of Prime Minister David Cameron.
Hours before the story broke, Mr Menzies 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.”
Mr Chatfield, a retired university lecturer who has been a party member for 17 years, took over as Fylde Association chairman just last Friday evening in circumstances totally unrelated to the newspaper revelations.
He succeeds Coun Brenda Ackers, who had reached the end of her maximum tenure of three years in the chair,
“It has certainly been a baptism of fire for me with everything that has happened in the last few days but it is a great honour to be chairman,” added Mr Chatfield.
Fylde Council lead Coun David Eaves said: “Mark has worked extremely hard for the people of Fylde and he is determined to clear his name.
“It is always a shock to hear of such allegations made against people but these are just allegations and I will be keen to hear the reaction from Mark.”
Coun Ackers added: “Mark has the total support of myself and other members of the management team”, while Fylde Mayor Coun Linda Nulty said: “We are thinking of him at this difficult time.”