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Profile: Louise Mensch

Category: Politics

Published: 6th Aug 2012 12:35:15

One of the most high-profile MPs elected in 2010, Conservative Louise Mensch is resigning as the MP for Corby. Here's a look at the best-selling author's journey to the House of Commons:

A successful novelist before becoming an MP, Louise Mensch was first published at the age of 14 in Catholic newspaper The Tablet, going on to be Young Poet of the Year at the age of 18.

After reading the somewhat obscure subject of Anglo-Saxon and Norse at Oxford University, where she was president of the Rock Society, Mrs Mensch joined the record company EMI as a press officer. She was later sacked but found a marketing job at Sony.

At the age of 23 she became a full-time writer and published her first novel Career Girls in 1995 under her maiden name Louise Bagshawe. She went on to publish 14 further chick-lit novels with titles such as Desire, Passion, Glitz and Glamour and has sold more than two million books worldwide.

She has admitted to the racy nature of her writing - talking about her first novel in an interview with The Guardian last year she admitted: "Well, you could fry an egg on it."

She has kept up her passion for music in Parliament as vice-chair of the cross-party music group. In 2011 she married her second husband Peter Mensch, the manager of rock band Metallica, whom she previously thanked in the foreword of her first novel for "for taking me along for the ride".

Louise Mensch was selected for her seat of Corby in 2006 after she was put on David Cameron's "A list" designed to get more women and ethnic minority Conservative candidates.

She moved to the constituency with her first husband and their three children, but the marriage broke down in 2009.

In the 2010 general election she defeated Labour's Phil Hope, a former health minister who had faced questions over his expenses, by a majority of 1,895.

She become the first Tory MP to hold the seat since 1997.

Mrs Mensch joined the Conservatives at the age of 14 but, impressed with Tony Blair, she briefly flirted with Labour in 1996. However, she quickly returned to the Conservative fold the following year saying she "felt like an idiot" and had never campaigned for Labour.

She describes herself as "socially liberal and economically conservative" something she has labelled "mellow conservatism".

After initial coolness towards David Cameron's leadership, she is now happy to call herself a "Cameroon" but admits to "profound hero worship" of Margaret Thatcher.

Her high public profile and support for David Cameron has not been matched by the recognition she had hoped for in the political world and she had complained about being passed over for promotion into the junior ministerial ranks, although she later said she was joking.

In his response to her resignation, David Cameron hinted that he had hoped to promote her but would not now get the chance.

Mrs Mensch is well known for her feminist views, unafraid to proclaim loudly and proudly: "I am a feminist and I don't care who knows it. If you don't like it, don't vote for me."

Newly-elected, she led a revolt against government plans to grant anonymity to those accused of rape, which were later dropped.

She has objected strongly to being judged on her looks and the "trivialisation" of women in politics, such as the Cameron Cutie label for new Tory MPs.

But she drew criticism after posing for a glamorous photo shoot in men's magazine GQ.

Even though she's only been an MP for a short time it's not always been a smooth ride.

In July 2011 she admitted that she had probably taken drugs with violinist Nigel Kennedy while working for the record company EMI.

She was contacted by an investigative journalist and unflustered, Mrs Mensch published the email and her response saying the drug-taking was "highly probable" adding: "Since I was in my twenties, I'm sure it was not the only incident of the kind; we all do idiotic things when young."

The event followed one of Louise Mensch's most high-profile parliamentary appearances as a member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee questioning Rupert Murdoch and his son James over phone-hacking.

She later had to apologise to former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan after she wrongly accused him of owning up to phone-hacking.

Louise Mensch is one of the most active and prolific MP tweeters, with more than 100,000 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.

Tweeting after news of her resignation broke she said: "I am devastated by the necessary decision that I have had to announce today. It has been an incredible honour serving the people of #CorbyEN."

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BBC News, 2012. Profile: Louise Mensch [Online] (Updated 6th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1444750/Profile-Louise-Mensch [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

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