Louise Mensch – future Tory PM or car crash waiting to happen?

Louise Mensch – darling of the twitterati and media doyenne. After well deserved praise, even by Labour bloggers, for how she handled potential media revelations about her past, she has become something of a Westminster village heroine.

Already there is chatter about her as future leadership material.

But she combines three qualities which are terminal for new MPs – independent profile, past baggage and a boldness verging on the reckless. Louise Mensch is more likely to crash and burn than become Tory PM.

As a multi-million selling author, Louise Mensch was already well known before becoming an MP. She had money, fans and journalists eager to seek her out.

The House of Commons is like school. A new kid with a reputation breeds resentment amongst the less blessed – both amongst the new intake but particularly from the older hands.

Disparaging asides about la Mensch are already doing the rounds in the tea room and the bars amongst her colleagues.

Last week, one of her female colleagues was seen to roll her eyes at her mention and hiss ‘Louise bloody Mensch’.  The whips are mistrusting and she is building up the one thing that newbies must avoid – enemies on her own side.

As someone with a past, the David Jones e-mail is just the start. Mensch was a press officer at EMI at the height of the “fruit and flowers” years.  So called because of the euphemistic line item in the budget, which was cover for £200,000 a year allegedly spent on other ingredients of the rock and roll “lifestyle”. In those days, EMI was a party company.

There will be lots more to come.

Her current line, a variant on George W Bush’s “when I was young and reckless I was young and reckless” is fine to a point, but its purpose is to box off debate on past misdemeanours. It begins to break down if there is a stream of new revelations.

Inevitably, given her admission, there will be further questions about when she changed her lifestyle. If Mensch has been a paragon of virtue since her twenties, she will be fine, but as a celebrity author in her thirties, the temptations would have been more, not less.

And then there’s her judgement.

On the plus side, her boldness in pressing News International on the culture select committee is commendable. But the self-confidence that led her, as a new MP, to challenge the Murdochs also meant she made those ridiculous charges about Piers Morgan without bothering to check the facts.

Success in politics builds slowly. The stars that shine the brightest, earliest, often burn out.

At the height of the expenses crisis, David Cameron made lots of noises about wanting candidates from different backgrounds that had been successful before politics. That were more independent and brought new experiences into the House of Commons.

Careful what you wish for, David.


11 Responses to “Louise Mensch – future Tory PM or car crash waiting to happen?”

  1. Rational Plan says:

    While she went over top live on air with Piers, are you honestly arguing that Piers Morgan was ignorant of phone hacking that was going on at the Mirror. It contradicts numerous statements he’s made himself over the years.

    You can’t gloat over the humbling of News International and then expect Trinity Mirror to escape the same fate. The coming legal actions from hacked celebs are likely to prove ruinous to the Mirror.

  2. doreen ogden says:

    Definately car crash and maybe soon. Although she does have her sights set on being PM I’m sure.

  3. david says:

    So its between her and Boris is it? Can’t wait for either of ’em to give a speech on ‘family values’

  4. Lee says:

    Completely agree. She should have apologised immediately for misquoting Piers Morgan at the very least. I heard that she was fed her quote by that idiot Gweedo Fawkes too, wreckless behavior indeed.

  5. I suspect she’ll struggle to retain her seat at the next election but she’s far from the worst the Tories have to offer.

  6. Neither Tory nor Labour says:

    Interesting that you take it for granted that David Jones exists – and was not invented by someone to distract attention from Mensch’s apology to Piers Morgan last Friday. In reality no one knows.

  7. Nicky says:

    I doubt that Mrs Mensch will be re-elected as MP for Corby. This former steel town was devastated by the Tories in the 80s and 90s. It improved markedly during the Labour years, something she appears to conveniently not be aware of. Since she’s been MP there her own government ignored local opinion and earmarked the area for a toxic waste dump. She’s been involved in local campaigns to stop her own government closing down children’s centres. All this should tell her something – that the party she represents doesn’t give a damn about towns like Corby.

  8. Lee says:

    I don’t think David Jones does exist but its pretty clear that. The mystery man hit the nail on the head. No denial from Mensch, just the hiring of an expensive PR firm…

  9. Nicky says:

    Difficult to believe now, but back in the 80s (as I remember) Edwina Currie was thought by some as a potential future Tory leader, given that she seemed to possess many of the features of la Thatch herself. She made a name for herself as very committed and hard working, as well as bossy and overwhelmingly self-confident.

    In some ways Mensch is, oddly, like Currie in reverse. Currie wrote her bonk-busters after becoming a politician; Currie abandoned her Jewish faith on marriage to a gentile, whereas Mensch has (though not a convert) become immersed in it through her marriage to Peter Mensch.

    Presumably Mensch has no plans to share a bath with David Cameron or whoever his successor may be.

  10. Roger says:

    I can’t imagine why I am defending a Tory MP but how are those charges against Piers Morgan ridiculous?

    Sure she quoted the wrong passage (or rather one which possibly implied rather than directly confirmed PM’s involvement in phone hacking) in her defence but Morgan’s open boasting in the Daily Mail in 2006 about how he and his newsroom listened to Paul McCartney’s pathetic phone calls to his wife is all the evidence you need.

    Her main fault here was that she didn’t employ anyone who can do proper lexis-nexis searches.

  11. steveh says:

    In Mrs Mensch’s defence I think that recent revelations about this Piers Morgan issue has now left Morgan with some serious questions to answer. Mensch could possible be on the money although quoting poorly in her initial exchange.

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