Fylde MP Mark Menzies has pledged to fight allegations about his private life following lurid claims reportedly made by a Brazilian male escort.
The Sunday Mirror reported how the 19-year-old escort claimed Mr Menzies, 42, paid for his services 18 months ago, before showing him around Parliament.
It was also claimed in the story that the escort from Sao Paulo was then allegedly asked to supply the illegal drug methedrone.
Hours before the story went to print, a “shocked” Mr Menzies – who said a number of the allegations were “not true” – confirmed he would step down from his role as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to International Development Minister Alan Duncan to clear his name.
He 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.”
The Gazette attempted to speak to Mr Menzies several times yesterday but he was not contactable.
A number of national journalists were camped outside his constituency home in St Annes, but there was no sight of the local MP
Mr Menzies’ Fylde-based spokesman said the matter was being handled by Downing Street.
A Number 10 spokesman said Mr Menzies would not be available for comment, nor would a further statement be issued at this stage.
As the allegations made headline news across the country, Mr Menzies received the backing of local Tories.
Coun Brenda Ackers, a member of the Fylde Conservative Association, spoke to Mr Menzies on Saturday – shortly after the MP was told the story would be in the Sunday tabloids.
She said: “He did say there were some allegations which were untrue and intended to refute them fully.
“Some aspects are completely untrue.
“He does intend to speak about this when he has got his ideas and thoughts together.
“He’s obviously very shocked and needs time to consider his answer to these allegations.
“He has the total support of myself and two other members of the management team, they both support Mark also.”
Coun Ackers said she, “can’t possibly predict” how local voters would view the allegations.
Mayor of Fylde, Coun Linda Nulty, said: “I have spent quite a lot of time with Mark and in my time as mayor have always found him polite.
“I have always seen him as a quiet and private person willing to listen to constituents and as MP take issues forwards.
“He is important to our area in terms of getting better regulations for shale gas and fracking and (he) is key to that debate in Fylde.
“We are thinking of him at this difficult time.”
Fylde Council leader Coun David Eaves added: “Mark has always had local interests at heart.
“I will be prepared to wait and look to see what the investigation brings.”
Robert Silverwood, vice-chairman of the Lytham Business Partnership said: “I just think it’s sad.
“We have always found Mark professional, sociable and approachable.
“I don’t know if it will affect him as an MP – this is a true blue area, but David Cameron could make that decision for him.”
Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “He has been a good MP for this area and a good MP for the region.
“I have always found him to be a good colleague.”
Mr Menzies was elected to Parliament at the 2010 General Election, replacing the long-standing Tory MP Michael Jack.
He was brought up by his mother on the west coast of Scotland. His father died before he was born.
Mr Menzies won an assisted place at an independent school before studying at Glasgow University, and he joined Marks & Spencer as a trainee in 1994.
He won with a sizeable 13,000 majority at the 2010 election and became an aide to Energy Minister Charles Hendry.
In the 2012 reshuffle, he became Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Housing Minister Mark Prisk, and last autumn he moved on to become PPS to International Development Minister Alan Duncan.
The role of PPS is seen as a starting point for many MPs who are looking to become ministers themselves.