Louise Mensch MP

27 Jan 2013 08:01:58

What do Rupert Murdoch and David Cameron have in common? They both love new Sun columnist Louise Mensch.

By Tim Montgomerie
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Former Tory MP Louise Mensch has replaced Toby Young as The Sun on Sunday's star political columnist (he's back to his brilliant blogging best at The Telegraph). The former Corby MP uses today's column to praise the Prime Minister's Europe speech:

"David Cameron played a blinder this week. His high-wire balancing act would have done credit to a circus. He managed to please Eurosceptics by offering them a referendum — and Europhiles by reassuring them that if we get what we want, he will campaign to stay in. For his flourishing finale, he even got Angela Merkel — head of the only country that really counts across the Channel in EU politics these days — to chime in and agree with him."

Number 10 will be delighted that Louise has got this spot. She might not be quite the loyalist that Nadine Dorries paints her - the Mid Beds MP Tweeted earlier this week that her former colleague would welcome the slaughter of the first-born if Cameron proposed it - but she is certainly a committed and I'd add principled Cameroon.

Louise used to write regularly for ConHome, starring as one of our former columnists. Her final column was a tribute to everything Margaret Thatcher stood for. My guess is that her place in The Sun is a little more lucrative!

8 Nov 2012 11:37:10

This parliament should see the highest number of by-elections in 20 years

By Matthew Barrett
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BALLOT BOX 1As Peter Hoskin noted yesterday, the writs for a number of seats will be moved today, and will bring the number of by-elections in this parliament to 13.

We've just hit half-way through this term, and so one might reasonably assume that there will be at least 20 by-elections by 2015. That would be the highest number since the 1987-92 parliament. Unlike in that parliament, which had by-elections caused by the departure of MPs from all parties, this parliament has seen a strangely one-sided number of by-elections caused by Labour MPs.

Of the 13 by-elections called so far, only one has been caused by a Conservative MP (Corby), and one by Sinn Féin (Belfast West). The other 11 have all been Labour, including five caused by death or ill health, three because of scandals (Denis MacShane, Phil Woolas and Eric Illsley) and another three who resigned to contest higher office outside Parliament (a topic I've covered in more detail before).

Another point of interest is that there is a 14th by-election looming, at some point. In June, Martin "Machine Gun" McGuinness announced he would step down from the House of Commons because the Northern Ireland Assembly decided it would stop "double-jobbing" (sitting as a member of more than one legislative body), which meant Mr McGuinness could either resign as an MP, or give up his job as Deputy First Minister. Naturally he chose to stand down from Parliament - whereas his party colleagues resigned from the Northern Ireland Assembly, because MLAs are simply appointed to fill vacancies, and so do not incur the costs that a by-election does. However, the by-election in Mr McGuinness' Mid Ulster constituency is yet to take place.

Continue reading "This parliament should see the highest number of by-elections in 20 years" »

24 Aug 2012 08:29:24

Louise Mensch defends Sun's decision to print naked photographs of Prince Harry but nearly all Tory MPs are silent on issue

By Tim Montgomerie
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A search of Twitter reveals very little comment from Tory MPs on the naked photographs of Prince Harry that have been circulating across the internet for the last 48 hours and which now appear on the front page of The Sun. The screenshot below comes from the Sky News website. The text below the censored Sun front page reveals that Sky is continuing to respect the wishes of the Royal family that the photographs not be published;

Screen Shot 2012-08-24 at 08.16.47

Louise Mensch went on to the Today programme this morning to defend The Sun's decision to publish. She argued that was a clear public interest in what The Sun has done. The Royal family is funded by taxpayers, she said, and there were "security and judgment" issues in Prince Harry inviting "stangers" to his Las Vegas hotel room. It could have been a "honey trap" situation, she said. The outgoing Tory MP for Corby also told Radio 4 listeners that she was "chilled" by the request from the Press Complaints Commission for newspapers not to publish. She hoped that the press would stand up for its freedoms in the post-Leveson era. After her interview she Tweeted: "Must have full press freedom, without regulation, notwithstanding whatever Lord Justice #Leveson might recommend."

Damian Collins MP, a member of the Culture, Media and Select Committee, Tweeted a few minutes ago: "Harry is a senior royal so there's clear public interest in the Vegas pics. If this had been another public figure there would be no debate.".

16 Aug 2012 07:59:32

EXCLUSIVE: Lord Ashcroft poll finds Labour has 15% lead in Corby by-election

By Tim Montgomerie
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On 8th to 11th August Lord Ashcroft polled the voters of Corby and East Northamptonshire and has found that Labour is heading for a comfortable victory in the by-election caused by the resignation of Louise Mensch.


Compared to the General Election when Ms Mensch won the seat from Labour, the Tory vote is only down 5%. The LibDem vote has halved, however, down from 15% to 7%. The weakness of the LibDem vote is going to be a big problem for Tory MPs all over the country at the next election if they are facing a strong second-placed Labour candidate.

In terms of the reliability of this 15% lead for Labour it is notable that Lord Ashcroft surveyed just over 1,500 voters in the Corby constituency, a larger sample than most opinion polls. The survey found that 83% of people are fairly decided in how they'll vote. It will be an electoral miracle if Tories can win back enough voters in the next few weeks to overturn Labour's lead.

My hunch is that Labour will probably win by more than 15%. In the detail of Lord Ashcroft's poll he finds that 8% of current Tory voters would consider supporting UKIP when the by-election occurs. If UKIP run a good campaign - in a part of the country where they're traditionally strong - they'll erode the Conservative vote, in particular, and add to the Labour majority. Anything less than 10% from UKIP will be a poor showing. An early by-election, during the Labour Conference rather than in mid-November, is likely to limit the possibility for smaller parties like UKIP to build up momentum.

Continue reading "EXCLUSIVE: Lord Ashcroft poll finds Labour has 15% lead in Corby by-election" »

6 Aug 2012 13:22:46

When should the Corby by-election be held?

By Peter Hoskin
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ConservativeHome understands that, despite earlier reports, the date for the Corby by-election is still not set in stone. At the moment, there are two options. Here they are, with some of the considerations that will factor in the choice:

15 November

This is the date that has been mentioned today. It is also the day of two other by-elections — in Cardiff South and Manchster Central — as well as of the police commissioner elections. Wrapping it up with these elections could have two benefits. First, it would make the campaign cheaper. Second, it could mean that any bad result will be diluted by what's around it, particularly if Tory candidates do well in the police commissioner votes.


There is talk that the party could move the writ forward to September, around or before the time of Labour's party conference. This might be a boon for Ed Miliband, giving him something to crow about from the stage in Manchester. But it could also help David Cameron stage a "relaunch" a couple of weeks later in Birmingham, rather than having that relaunch undermined from the off by Labour regaining a seat from the Tories in November. It would also give UKIP — who already have a Roger Helmer-shaped presence in the area — less time to organise themselves.

So, what do you think? The comments section is yours.

6 Aug 2012 09:25:13

Louise Mensch resigns as MP for Corby

By Peter Hoskin
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Louise MenschSince being elected as MP for Corby two years ago, Louise Mensch has been one of the busiest, most engaging and vibrant voices on the backbenches — and now, sadly, she has resigned. I’ve pasted her correspondence with the Prime Minister below, but the basic point is that she is moving to New York to spend more time with her family. We at ConservativeHome certainly wish her well in whatever she does next.

Attention now turns to the by-election that will be held on 15 November, and which will colour much of the party conference as well as its aftermath. As the Spectator’s James Forsyth says, it’s probably too soon for Boris — but it will require a very good candidate to ensure victory. Corby had been held by Labour since 1997, before Louise Mensch achieved her 3.6 per cent (or 1,951 vote) majority. It is now exactly the sort of marginal that Ed Miliband will want to regain to prove that his party are making headway.

Continue reading "Louise Mensch resigns as MP for Corby" »

1 Aug 2012 12:53:10

Louise Mensch MP gets Labour to speak out against the Thatcher hate

By Peter Hoskin
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Yesterday, Louise Mensch took to Twitter to highlight how, disgustingly, a Facebook user had invited her to a party for the occasion of Lady Thatcher’s death. As this person had themselves down as a Labour supporter, she encouraged Ed Miliband’s party to say or do something in reproach:

What followed was something of a digital storm, with other Twitter users rushing to amplify (or denounce) the Thatcher hate. Mensch also highlighted some of the worst (or best) of these tweets, all of which can be seen on her timeline. And still she kept pressing Labour:


And so to an hour-or-so ago, when the Telegraph’s Rosa Prince reported:

“A spokesman for Labour has now responded, saying: ‘Language like this has no place on politics or civilised society. No one should be wanting to celebrate the death of anyone.’”

Louise Mensch has since responded:


28 Jul 2012 09:03:51

All Tory MPs pour praise on opening ceremony (well nearly all)

By Tim Montgomerie
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Aidan Burley MP has got himself into trouble (again). This time for some sour tweets about the Olympics' Opening Ceremony:

Screen Shot 2012-07-28 at 08.48.44

There's a report in The Telegraph. Number 10 quickly distanced himself from Mr Burley's Tweets.  "We do not agree with him," said a Downing Street source. Fellow Tory MP Gavin Barwell tweeted his own rebuttal. There's nothing left-wing about embracing diversity, said the member for Croydon Central.

Robert Halfon MP was positive throughout the evening (writing a blog entitled "Olymptastic") but he did object to Shami Chakrabati's casting as Olympic flag carrier "given her senior role in LSE: the Uni that sucked up to Gadaffi". I agree with Rob, why not an Afghan war vetaran instead?

Most Tory MPs were completely uncritical, however. Here's a selection:

  • Stuart Andrew: As you can see Mr Romney, we are ready! Well done all!
  • Harriett Baldwin: Loved it all, but being a Worcestershire dog owner my best bits were Elgar and the corgis
  • Steve Baker: Wonderful to see two great British engineers celebrated tonight: Brunel and Berners-Lee
  • Dan Byles: Has Danny Boyle just secured his knighthood, with this incredible ceremony?
  • Damian Collins: Absolutely stunning start to the London 2012 Olympics. Danny Boyle's opening ceremony really was the best of British.
  • Alun Cairns: Fantastic opening ceremony and S&P confirm Britain's AAA rating. Looking good even without winning a medal so far
  • Charlie Elphicke: An amazing #london2012 opening ceremony. Brilliant @DannyBoyleFilm celebration of our nation. Tonight we are #OneBritain
  • Margot James: Jerusalem, Chelsea Pensioners, forging, James Bond and the Queen, nurses, great music, quirky history of our Isles loved
  • David Jones: Over a billion people watching this. Watching our country. Very proud.
  • Louise Mensch: Beyond awesome. We rule. #GodSaveTheQueen
  • Nicky Morgan: Oh wow! The Olympics are here. Only city to host for a third time.
  • Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: Well that was fantastic. The world was watching London and London delivered. Well done to all who made it happen.
  • Rob Wilson: Oh Danny Boyle, English eyes are smiling! Sing it everyone.

13 Jul 2012 07:01:42

Politics.co.uk names best MPs on Twitter (including Nadine Dorries and Louise Mensch) and shames the worst

By Tim Montgomerie
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Dorries Nadine HIGNFYThe Politics.co.uk website has named Nadine Dorries MP as the best MP on Twitter. The website's Ian Dunt recommends following the Tory MP for Mid-Bedfordshire for representing the Tory right and for her general outspoken-ness. He also commends her humanity:

"There is a disarmingly charming side, where Dorries offers warm, kind hearted messages to friends and enemies alike. Suddenly she becomes cheeky, fun and very human – probably the most natural and unselfconscious of all MPs online. It is a baffling combination of characteristics from a complex political figure. It makes her the best MP on Twitter."

The only other Tory MP in the top ten is Louise Mensch, at number 7.

Unfortunately, Conservatives dominate the list of ten worst MPs on Twitter. Phillip Lee, Mark Garnier, James Morris, Stuart Andrew, Jeremy Lefroy, Damian Hinds, Brandon Lewis and Steve Brine all feature.

Lee PhilipIan Dunt doesn't hold back in his criticism of these MPs. This is his verdict on Dr Phillip Lee:

"It's difficult to imagine a mind so broken it could bear to read the tweets of Dr Phillip Lee, although some must exist, because he sports over 600 followers. His messages are commendably constituency-based, but they are so grey it is hard to finish them without falling into a catatonic state of despair. "Today met with BT senior executives to discuss broadband in Bracknell constituency," he tweets. And then: "My regular walkabouts through the constituency are a great way to meet local residents." Siri probably has a more distracting social life."

And on Stuart Andrew...

"Stuart Andrew's Euro 2012 quarter finals tweets were spectacularly misjudged, even by the standards of the dangerous pub/sport/tweet axis. "No updates until it's over!!!" he wrote at one point. Note the idiotic use of exclamation marks. Moments later: "Except for that one!!!!!" Then, despite the previous promise: "How disappointing!" And finally, a eurosceptic pun barely worthy of the name: "As I've always thought...better off out of the Euro!!" Of course, the tragedy of Andrew's Twitter feed is not always so rampant, but the common themes are there: banality, predictability, intellectual failure."

26 May 2012 16:19:07

On day UKUncut protestors targeted Clegg family home, Tory MP Louise Mensch urges people to donate £5 to Lib Dem funds

By Tim Montgomerie
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Louise Mensch, the Tory MP for Corby is recommending that her followers donate £5 to the Liberal Democrats for today only.

She thinks it will show solidarity with the Cleggs who have been targeted by UNuncut protestors today. Hundreds gathered outside the Putney home of the Lib Dem leader, some chained themselves to railings and they held a noisy but apparently peaceful street party. No arrests were made but a large contingent of police officers had to be deployed. The Cleggs have young children and it can't have been pleasant for them (if they were at home) or for local families.

Louise is appalled and as gesture of solidarity with Nick Clegg and as a poke-in-the-eye for UK Uncut she suggested we all donate £5 to Lib Dem campaign funds.

I tweeted that if Louise wants to do something she should send a card and flowers to Mr and Mrs Clegg. I don't want my money going to finance Lib Dem leaflets so that the party can try and hold on to seats like Eastleigh, Torbay and Bath. Mark Wallace agrees:

Screen Shot 2012-05-26 at 16.18.08

I'll let Louise have the final word:

Screen Shot 2012-05-26 at 16.09.58

14 May 2012 12:07:22

The People's Pledge announce shortlist of 39 constituencies for new European referendums

By Matthew Barrett
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4pm update: People's Pledge sources tells me that Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot has come out in support of a referendum

Mike Freer, the MP for Finchley and Golders Green, has also backed a referendum. This is significant because Freer was not one of the 81 rebels, but has now come round to the view that Britain should have an in/out European referendum. 

These two new additions to the list of MPs supporting the People's Pledge means 68 MPs - from several parties - back a referendum. 


PeoplesPledge2Following on from their successful referendum campaign in Thurrock - turnout was higher than in the recent local elections - The People's Pledge campaign have announced further referendums, to be held in 3 contiguous seats. The campaign has announced a shortlist of 39 seats, grouped in 13 contiguous triples, from different regions, from which one triplet will be chosen in the next few days, with a polling date set for late July.

Continue reading "The People's Pledge announce shortlist of 39 constituencies for new European referendums" »

4 May 2012 12:05:47

Record of how Conservative MPs are reacting to the local election results

A variety of reactions are pasted in this blog. The names of those calling for some change of message, priority or operational changes are emboldened. We have also included the contributions of MPs who have not advocated substantial changes.

5.45pm A little round-up of what Tory MPs have said during the day:

David Ruffley MP advocated radical economic measures - and a withdrawal from the Coalition if Lib Dems won't back them:

"I think now with the position now where there was a Coalition Agreement two years ago but quite a few senior colleagues think that was then, this is now. We didn't think two years ago that the economy would still be flat on its back and everything now has to be directed towards getting the British economy going. And yes it does mean looking at tax again but also, a freer labour market, the hiring and firing proposals to make sure that young people aren't turned away from jobs because of the very onerous social employment protection legislation in this country, so we should say to the Liberals on things like that which they are blocking, 'Listen we are in a real hole now. We need some radical economic polices put in place and you go with it and if you don't, we how would you like a general election?'"

Peter Bone MP urged the Government to drop any "wishy-washy" policies in the Queen's Speech:

"You can see what happens when there is a Conservative Government, because there was a Conservative Government run in London by Boris and he got re-elected. He put forward Conservative policies and he got re-elected and he bucked the national trend, and that really should be a message for the Coalition. Be more conservative and be less liberal wishy-washy and I think that’s what the voters would like to see in the Queen’s speech.” 

Continue reading "Record of how Conservative MPs are reacting to the local election results " »

27 Apr 2012 06:52:44

Louise Mensch's debate on local papers encapsulated what's gone wrong with the Commons

By Paul Goodman
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First, some necessary preliminaries.  The debate took place on Wednesday afternoon in Westminster Hall.  Its premis was that such papers are a good thing and that their endangered future is a bad thing - which is incontestable.  The Corby MP made a good speech, and here is the sum of her argument:

"I ask the Minister to give every hon. Friend and hon. Member in the Chamber some hope that the Government will look again at the plight of the local press, at the creation of a fair level playing field and at the indirect subsidies proposed for local television stations, which will be a further competitor for local newspapers, with the BBC required to buy their content."

She ended by urging Government Departments to continue advertising in local papers and Eric Pickles to continue stamping down on council free sheets.  Edward Vaizey, the Culture Minister, set out in his reply what the Government is doing to help ensure a future for local papers - or did so as fully as he could, given the constraint he was under.

Namely, to set out his Department's policy and respond to the points raised in the debate in only 13 minutes.  The brief nature of this response indicates that the debate itself was short.  Indeed so: Hansard records that it began at 4.00 and ended at 4.30.  I count 24 MPs as having spoken in that half hour, which gave Mr Vaizey under two minutes to respond to each MP.

Continue reading "Louise Mensch's debate on local papers encapsulated what's gone wrong with the Commons" »

17 Apr 2012 07:59:19

What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats

By Matthew Barrett
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I recently profiled the 2020 and Free Enterprise groups of Tory MPs. Those two groups are formed by ideology: MPs are attracted to the groups because, in the case of the Free Enterprise Group, members wish to open up markets and make Britain business-friendly enough to compete with other world class economies. The 2020's members want to renew and refresh Project Cameron, while considering how the country should look after a majority Conservative government.

The 40 is rather different as it is a group of MPs brought together solely by necessity - the members are those MPs who were elected in 2010 with the narrowest majorities in the Party.

Origins of the group and key members


The group was founded early last year by Eric Ollerenshaw (Lancaster and Fleetwood), Graham Evans (Weaver Vale), and David Mowat (Warrington South). There is no rigid structure to the group as such, given its non-ideological purpose, but when it meets, the convener is usually David Mowat. Other key "executive" members of the group include Evans and Ollerenshaw, as well as Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye), James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) and Ben Gummer (Ipswich).

Continue reading "What is the 40 group? Matthew Barrett profiles the MPs trying to keep hold of the most marginal Tory seats" »

14 Feb 2012 08:13:26

Zac Goldsmith voted the most fanciable male MP (again)

By Matthew Barrett
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GOLDSMITH ZACSky News' annual St Valentine’s Day poll, compiled by Sky News’ political team sees the Conservative MP for Richmond Park, Zac Goldsmith, retaining his position as the most fanciable male MP.

Labour's Luciana Berger also retained her position as the most fanciable female MP, although Tory women are rated as the most attractive with 6 listed in the top 10, while Labour have 4 and the Lib Dems have none. Despite Goldsmith's first place, Labour men did best overall with 5 entries, but the Tories were just behind with 4 places.

Nick Clegg is the only Liberal Democrat to feature in this year’s list, and the only party leader to qualify - both David Cameron and Ed Miliband missed out, although the senior Miliband brother makes 6th place. 

Here is the full list (with last year’s rankings in brackets) for Sky's Most Fanciable MP 2012:


  1. Zac Goldsmith (Con, Richmond Park) (1)
  2. Chuka Umunna (Lab, Streatham) (1)
  3. Andy Burnham (Lab, Leigh) (4)
  4. Dan Jarvis (Lab, Barnsley Central)
  5. Nick Clegg (Lib, Sheffield Hallam) (8)
  6. David Miliband (Lab, South Shields) (6)
  7. Dominic Raab (Con, Esher and Walton)
  8. Matt Hancock (Con, West Suffolk)
  9. Tristram Hunt (Lab, Stoke-on-Trent Central) (10)
  10. Jo Johnson (Con, Orpington)


  1. Luciana Berger (Lab, Liverpool Wavertree) (1)
  2. Louise Mensch (Con, Corby) (4)
  3. Nicola Blackwood (Con, Oxford West and Abingdon)
  4. Stella Creasy (Lab, Walthamstow) (8)
  5. Gloria De Piero (Lab, Ashfield) (4)
  6. Esther McVey (Con, Wirral West) (8)
  7. Rushanara Ali (Lab, Bethnal Green and Bow) (6)
  8. Penny Mordaunt (Con, Portsmouth North)
  9. Priti Patel (Con, Witham) (8)
  10. Charlotte Leslie (Con, Bristol North West)