Media

Louise Mensch quits as Tory MP to join hubby and family in New York

By Noel Young | Correspondent

August 6, 2012 | 5 min read

Tory MP Louise Mensch, who famously took on Piers Morgan during the Parliamentary phone-hacking enquiry (and was later forced to apologise) is quitting as an MP.

The story was an exclusive for her local paper, the Northamptonshire Telegraph. Reporter Katie Cronin reported that Mensch decided to quit because she found it “difficult to juggle family responsibilities with her political career”.

Louise Mensch MP: praise from PM

She told the paper she was "completely devastated" but had decided to move to New York with her three children to live with her husband. Peter Mensch is manager of the rock band Metallica.

An official announcement was made nationally at 10am today but Mrs Mensch "wanted her constituents to be the first to know of her resignation,” said the local paper.

Mensch recently launched her own social networking site called menshn.com as a rival to twitter. The paper said she was “now expected to concentrate on building the popularity of the site”.

As a member of the Select Committee for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Mensch played a prominent role in its investigations into phone-hacking at the News of the World.

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But of the committee’s final report released in May, she said it it would be “correctly seen as a partisan report and will have lost a very great deal of its credibility”.

In April, Mensch called for more subsidies and tax advantages for local newspapers as a means of preserving the UK’s “most popular print media”.

She took this cause up after it was announced that two daily newspapers in her constituency, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo and Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, were being converted to weeklies.

Her decision to quit means a by-election, expected on November 15, in her Northamptonshire constituency, a marginal seat. Before going into politics she was a best-selling chick-lit author, under her maiden name Bagshawe.

The MP, who won her Corby and East Northamptonshire seat in 2010 with a 1,951 majority, said she was finding it increasingly difficult to juggle family responsibilities with her political career and her decision to quit politics was "devastating but necessary".

The BBC said Louise Mensch was held in high regard by the prime minister. In reply to her resignation lette, he even hints at promotion: "It goes without saying that I had wished to see you serve for longer and at a more senior level," he said.

At one point Mensch said she regretted 'incredibly' using Class A drugs in her youth.

The PM said Mrs Mensch had been a "truly inspiring" MP and had helped "bring politics alive to those outside the Westminster Village" thanks to her "effective appearances on the television and use of social media".

Mrs Mensch was a prolific user of Twitter site with 102,000 followers.

But she said recently she had grown "frustrated" with it and has set up a rival site - Menshn - which aims to keep conversations on topic and allow people to post 180 character messages - 40 more than Twitter.

Mensch apologised to CNN's Piers Morgan after misquoting him on phone-hacking.

In the questioning before a Commons committee, she used Parliamentary Privilege to claim that the former Daily Mirror editor had been open about personally hacking phones in a book he wrote.

Mensch later apologised saying her questions had been based on a “misreading” of a newspaper report on Morgan's account of how the Mirror obtained its scoop on the affair between former England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and Ulrika Jonsson.

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