THE stench of sleaze just won't go away from the Conservative Party.

Conservative MP Mark Menzies – a Scottish Tory carpet bagger who hails from Ardrossan but moved south in search of a Conservative seat because he'd have been unelectable in Scotland – has had the Conservative whip stripped from him following allegations that he used party funds in order to pay off "bad people".

Menzies has been the MP for Fylde in Lancashire since 2010.

He is alleged to have spent £14,000 of campaign funds on private medical expenses and to pay off the aforementioned "bad people" who were refusing to allow him to leave a flat until he paid over £5000 in "cleaning expenses."

Menzies denies the allegations.

READ MORE: Mark Menzies: Tory MP suspended over claims of paying off 'bad people'

Menzies reportedly met a man on a dating app and then went to the man's flat.

He then went to another man's flat by which time he was allegedly so drunk that he threw up and caused significant damage.

The men then refused to allow Menzies to leave until he paid £5000 in "cleaning expenses".

Menzies made a panicked phone call at three in the morning to his elderly election agent begging for the money, saying it was a matter of "life or death".

The money was eventually paid.

He is also alleged on previous occasions to have used thousands of pounds of party funds for "medical bills", the nature of which has not been disclosed.

The National: Mark Menzies

Just before the pandemic, Menzies (above) was accused of asking his former campaign manager to send him £3,000 from campaign funds.

He claimed to have urgent medical bills that he could not pay and promised to sell some shares to repay the money. However, he is thought not to have paid the money back but instead asked for another £4,000.

This is very far from the first time that Menzies has been at the centre of controversy.

In 2014 there were reports that Menzies had hired a teenage Brazilian sex worker and showed him around the palace of Westminster.

The sex worker, who was then 19-years-old, said that Menzies had paid him for his services and had asked him to buy him amphetamines.

READ MORE: Former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell arrested again amid police probe

The scandal caused Menzies to quit his role as a Parliamentary Private Secretary with the Department for International Development.

In 2017, Menzies was also accused of getting a friend's dog drunk at a wedding then engaging in a brawl with the friend after he was challenged on it.

The dog required veterinary treatment.

Menzies wasn't charged with any offence after he persuaded police that he hadn't fed the dog alcohol – he'd just stood by and taken photos of a clearly distressed animal.

So, that's just fine then. Mark is clearly a lovely man.

More recently Menzies got into an altercation at the Proms, being accused of kicking chairs and poking people after realising his seats had not been reserved in the VIP section.

The National: BBC Proms

A source close to the MP admitted he had drunk too much but didn't poke anyone deliberately.

However, they admitted that he may have done so accidentally "with a flag."

Menzies has a long history of problematic behaviour but has been repeatedly protected and defended by the Conservative Party.

I'm sure that Michael Gove will be along shortly urging us to show Menzies some Christian compassion before the Tories get back to their witch hunt of Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner.

This latest incident adds to the image of a sleaze ridden government filled with problematic and inadequate individuals who are manifestly unsuitable for the roles they find themselves in.

Scottish Government rows back on 2030 climate commitments

The Scottish Government has announced that it is abandoning its target of a 75% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

However, First Minister Humza Yousaf has insisted that measures to reach net zero will be "accelerated" despite the dropping of the 2030 target, which had always been regarded as a difficult and perhaps over ambitious stretch.

At First Minister's Questions, he that insisted the Scottish Government remained committed to tackling the climate crisis and said Energy Secretary Mairi McAllan would give a statement to Parliament setting out the Government's plans to reach net zero by 2045 later on Thursday.

Attacked by Labour's Anas Sarwar on the issue he noted that Labour as opposed every measure that the Scottish Government has proposed in order to tackle the climate emergency.

READ MORE: Scottish climate campaigners plead for action from Government

He also pointed out that Scotland had reduced carbon emissions faster than any other country in the UK.

Indeed, Scotland has done so despite the fact that the Scottish Government lacks powers over energy policy and has often been hampered in its efforts by unhelpful decisions taken by the Conservative government at Westminster.

Addressing the issue on social media, Nicola Sturgeon's former chief of staff Liz Lloyd noted that Scotland's climate targets are also dependent partly on the UK's net-zero trajectory and carbon budget – which she argued "were not designed or adjusted" to consider Holyrood's target of a 75% reduction by the end of the decade.

She added: "None of this is to get away from questions on whether ScotGov could have gone further or faster, but the background is part of why the ScotGov is where it is today."

Cass Review sparks pause of puberty blockers in Scotland

The prescription of puberty blocking medicines has been “paused” in Scotland for under-18s.

The Sandyford Sexual Health Clinic, the only site in Scotland which provides gender care for young people, said trans people looking to take puberty blockers will not be allowed to do so until they are 18.

The decision follows the publication of a major review of NHS services for transgender people which concluded there was a need for more research into the medical implications of prescribing the drugs to young people.

Dr Emilia Crighton, director of public health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “The findings informing the Cass Review are important and we have reviewed the impact on our clinical pathways.

The National: Dr Hilary Cass spearheaded the review into transgender healthcare for children in NHS EnglandDr Hilary Cass spearheaded the review into transgender healthcare for children in NHS England

“The next step from here is to work with the Scottish Government and academic partners to generate evidence that enables us to deliver safe care for our patients.

“We echo the views of Dr Hilary Cass that toxicity around public debate is impacting the lives of young people seeking the care of our service and does not serve the teams working hard to care and support them.

More compassion and less social media hysteria and anger would be nice, but don't go holding your breath.

Mr Alistair Carmichael MP – A correction and apology

In our Real Scottish Politics Newsletter by the Wee Ginger Dug of April 16, we published that Alistair Carmichael MP was "listed as previously being vice chair of C&C Alpha Group Investments - part of his family company that invests heavily in private hospitals and dementia care homes in the UK".

We accept that this is entirely untrue and that Alistair Carmichael has never been vice-chair of C&C Alpha Group Investments or held any position in that company.

Further, it is not part of Mr Carmichael’s “family company” as Mr Carmichael has no “family company”. We apologise unreservedly to Mr Carmichael and his family for the distress caused to them by our decision to publish this.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

To receive our full newsletter including this analysis straight to your email inbox, click HERE and click the "+" sign-up symbol for the REAL Scottish Politics