Louise Mensch

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Louise Mensch
Member of Parliament
for Corby
In office
6 May 2010 – 29 August 2012
Preceded by Phil Hope
Succeeded by Andy Sawford
Majority 1,951 (3.6%)
Personal details
Born Louise Daphne Bagshawe
(1971-06-28) 28 June 1971 (age 44)
London, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative (before 1996 and since 1997)
Other political
Labour (1996 to 1997)
Spouse(s) Anthony LoCicero (m. 2000; div. 2009)
Peter Mensch (m. 2011)
Children 3
Residence New York City
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford
Profession Writer
Religion Roman Catholicism[1]

Louise Mensch (née Louise Daphne Bagshawe; born 28 June 1971) is an English author who writes under her maiden name. She was the Conservative Member of the UK Parliament (MP) for Corby from 2010 to 2012.[2]

Early and personal life[edit]

Mensch was born in London, England, the daughter of Daphne Margaret (née Triggs) and Nicholas Wilfrid Bagshawe.[3] She is the sister of Tilly Bagshawe, a freelance journalist and author, a younger sister Alice, and a brother, James.[4]

Her father comes from a family of Roman Catholic gentry;[5] his grandfather was the marine artist Joseph Richard Bagshawe, who was a grandson of marine artist Clarkson Stanfield,[6] and a nephew of Edward Gilpin Bagshawe, Roman Catholic Bishop of Nottingham. Her paternal grandmother Mary Frideswide Bagshawe was the daughter of Charles Robertson, a stockbroker and benefactor of St Philip's Priory, Begbroke and one of the co-founders of Westminster Cathedral.[7]

Her family moved to the countryside when she was seven. She was educated at Beechwood Sacred Heart School, Tunbridge Wells,[8] and Woldingham School, a Roman Catholic girls' boarding school in Surrey, and was named "Young Poet of the Year" in 1989 at the age of 18.[9] She read English Language and Literature at Christ Church, Oxford[10] and was Secretary of the Oxford Union.[11]

Bagshawe married Anthony LoCicero, an Anglo-Italian Catholic property speculator. They have three children, but separated after nine years and the marriage ended in divorce.[12][13][14] In June 2011, she married music manager Peter Mensch, whom she had met twenty years earlier.[15][16] She has criticised media outlets for repeated questions about her having had a facelift.[17][18][19]

Mensch is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which made her realise she was "self medicating" with wine for stress, and she has now almost completely given up alcohol.[20]

Writing career[edit]

Following a six-month internship at MTV Europe she worked as a press officer with EMI Records (a position from which she was formally dismissed[21]), and then as a marketing official for Sony Music.[22]

Her first novel, Career Girls, was published in 1995 and has been followed by 16 subsequent works in the chick lit genre aimed at young women. She has defended chick lit against allegations, specifically by psychologist Susan Quilliam, that the books cause irrationally high expectations which "ruin readers' lives" by saying that such books merely make readers raise their standards.[23]

Political career[edit]

With parents who were active in the party, Mensch had joined the Conservatives when she was 14.[24] Subsequently in 1996, she switched to the Labour Party, saying that she believed Tony Blair to be "socially liberal but an economic Tory".[25] By 1997 she had returned to the Conservatives, helped her mother, Daphne, win a seat in East Sussex County Council from the Liberal Democrats.[24] and campaigned in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 general elections.[26] In 2001, Mensch co-founded the Oxonian Society with Joseph Pascal and Princess Badiya bint El Hassan of Jordan.[27]

Mensch was placed on the A-List of Conservative candidates in 2006. This move was criticised by David Burrowes, from the socially conservative Cornerstone Group of Tory MPs, as favouring "minor celebrities", such as Mensch, over local candidates when selecting prospective parliamentary candidates.[28] In October 2006 she was selected to stand in Corby.[29] As part of her campaigning for the 2010 election, she appeared on Question Time[9] and BBC One's The Big Questions.[30]

She believes the 2004 fox hunting ban should be repealed on civil liberties grounds, and that its debate and implementation was a waste of Parliamentary time.[31] Mensch advocates "reality-based feminism", in particular "Conservative feminism" or "Tory feminism", and she has criticised what she sees as "ultra-feminism", "the ghetto feminism of the impact equalities assessment [sic]", and Britain's "modern feminist movement", which she contrasts unfavourably with "American feminism".[32][33]

In the 2010 general election Mensch won the seat of Corby with a majority of 1,951, defeating Labour incumbent Phil Hope, and in June 2010 she was elected by other Conservative MPs to serve on the Select Committee for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Phone hacking scandal[edit]

On 19 July 2011, in the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Mensch took part in the questioning of James and Rupert Murdoch over the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

Political blogger Bagehot in The Economist named Mensch as the "surprise star" of the hearing saying her "sharp, precise, coolly scornful questions" contrasted with her "waffling, pompous" fellow committee members.[34] Mensch later faced criticism for incorrectly claiming during the committee that Piers Morgan had written in his autobiography about conducting phone hacking while he was the editor of the Daily Mirror.[35] When challenged on CNN by Morgan, Mensch cited the protection of parliamentary privilege and refused to withdraw the allegation; however, she also refused to openly repeat it. She later apologised to Morgan, claiming that she had misread a newspaper report about the book.[36]

Three days later Mensch received an email alleging that she had taken a controlled substance with Nigel Kennedy at Ronnie Scott's club in Birmingham in the 1990s while working as a press officer for EMI Records.[37] Mensch publicly released the email and admitted the allegations were "highly probable", but said she regretted only that others had to see her dancing and would not be deterred from asking further questions about phone hacking. She subsequently admitted using class A drugs in The Sunday Times.[13][22][38][39]

The Culture, Media and Sport select committee finalised its report in April 2012. Mensch disagreed publicly with Tom Watson and Paul Farrelly, two Labour members of the committee, over whether the conclusion that Rupert Murdoch was unfit to run an international company, had been discussed before Watson tabled a Commons amendment on 30 April. Mensch and the other three Conservative members of the committee had opposed it, and could not support the report with the MP herself saying the report had become "partisan" as a result of the statement's inclusion.[40][41] Mensch insisted on Newsnight on 2 May that it had not been discussed and was not part of its remit.[42][43] Watson later accused Mensch of tabling pro-Murdoch amendments which would have "exonerated" James Murdoch in the report and, in Twitter exchanges with her, alleged private committee conversations had been leaked to News Corp.[44][45]

Control of social networking[edit]

Following the 2011 England riots Mensch called for social media services Twitter and Facebook to be shut down or to "take an hour off" during disturbances to stop the spread of false rumours wasting police resources.[46] She compared the action with brief interruptions to road and rail networks during emergencies.[46] However, other Twitter users compared such action to the online censorship of regimes such as Iran and China, whilst Sussex police said they had used Twitter to stop rumours.[46]

In June 2012, a man was given a 26-week prison sentence suspended for two years for sending Mensch an offensive and threatening email including threats against her children.[47] Following his conviction, Mensch called for networking sites to identify anonymous bullies saying it was impossible for the victim to ascertain the seriousness of the threat posed, while the bullies felt they could do as they pleased without fear of retribution.[48]


In May 2012, Mensch used her Twitter account to condemn abusive and threatening tweets that she had received, describing them as "misogyny and bullying". The tweets were subsequently reported in the mainstream press, and she received support for drawing attention to the issue from Jeremy Vine and Isabel Hardman, among others.[49] In March 2014, Mensch was herself accused of cyberbullying after she sent a series of tweets to a journalist, which included personal remarks about his appearance.[50] Similar personal remarks were sent by Mensch to Kim Dotcom in March 2015.[51]

In May 2015, after that year's general election, Mensch was accused of cyberbullying leader of the 'Milifandom', teenager Abby Tomlinson.[52] Mensch denied the accusation, asserting that she had only criticised Tomlinson.[53] Shortly afterwards, she wrote a 4,000 word blog entry to re-interate that she had not bullied Tomlinson, but made new assertions about the sixth-form student.[54]


On 6 August 2012, Mensch announced her decision to resign as the MP for Corby in order to spend more time with her family in New York City.[2] Mensch had appeared likely to be promoted in the expected September government reshuffle.[55] She told her local newspaper that she had intended to stand down at the next election, but brought the date forward as she was concerned her children would be too settled in Britain by then.[55] She was appointed to the nominal position of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead on 29 August 2012, thus vacating her seat. The subsequent by-election was won by Andy Sawford for the Labour party.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Norman Tebbit criticised Conservative Central Office for removing the right of constituencies to choose local candidates, a move which he says has both caused the collapse of grassroot party membership and weakened the bond between members and constituents. He said it appeared that Mensch had "put her newly acquired husband above the constituents that her website still says she was honoured to have been elected to represent" two years ago and that her attitude to her obligations appeared casual."[56]


After leaving Parliament, Mensch wrote articles for a number of newspapers, including the The Times and The Sun. In January 2013 she became a columnist for The Sun on Sunday.[citation needed] In May 2014 Mensch started working for a company owned by Rupert Murdoch on "digital projects".[57]

Internet ventures[edit]


In June 2012, Mensch joined forces with former Labour digital adviser Luke Bozier to set up a social networking website – a politics-based rival to Twitter.[58][59] The site, named Menshn – a reference to "mention" – allowed users to select their topic of interest. Mensch hoped to raise venture capital finance.[60] The site was slated by IT industry experts for its lack of security.[61][62] Menshn closed in February 2013.[63]


After the closure of menshn, Mensch announced she was setting up a style and fashion blog called Unfashionista. The website was covered widely in the British press; The Guardian,[64] The Independent,[65] The Daily Telegraph,[66] Daily Mail[67] and others all ran articles – giving it mixed reviews – and Mumsnet made her a featured blogger on their bloggers' network.[citation needed] unfashionista's blog posts have subsequently become more associated with Mensch's campaign topics, especially regarding Tim Hunt.[citation needed]

Hudson Union Society[edit]

Mensch is a co-founder of the Hudson Union Society.[68]


In October 2011, Mensch appeared on the satirical current affairs news programme Have I Got News For You? (HIGNFY) as a panellist. During her appearance, she criticised anti-capitalist protesters for drinking Starbucks, saying "You can't be against capitalism and then take everything it provides." This was met with derision from all panellists, with the editor of the Private Eye and regular panellist on HIGNFY Ian Hislop saying "You don't have to want to return to a barter system in the Stone Age to complain about the way the financial system affected large numbers of people."[69]

In June 2014, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported Mensch's remarks on her Twitter profile about Greece: "F*** you, Greece. Nasty things happening to nasty people."[70] The remarks were further reported in the Greek press and in the media.

Mensch made regular appearances in the media after the death of Margaret Thatcher, calling those who celebrated her death a "vocal minority", "idiots", and "pygmies", as well as swearing during an interview on This Morning. She was criticised for her conduct by some in the British press.[71][72][73]

Mensch has been mocked in UK newspapers for combining a tenaciously philosemitic defence of "the Jewish people" with an ignorance of Jewish history. She once tweeted that the term Zionist was merely an antisemitic code word for Jew; when asked by another user whether she would consider Theodor Herzl—one of the founding fathers of Zionism—antisemitic if he were to use the term, Mensch replied in the affirmative.[74][75][76]

Following the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in January 2015, Mensch used a series of expletives on Twitter to point out Saudi human rights abuses during his reign and to criticize UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the Queen over tributes to him.[77]

In July 2015, Mensch reacted to allegedly sexist comments by Nobel Prize winner Tim Hunt by researching the backgrounds of various people involved in the luncheon at which he spoke. Afterwards, she wrote an exhaustive blog post which defended Hunt and criticized the ethics of Connie St Louis, Deborah Blum and Ivan Oransky, the first three journalists to condemn his speech.[78]
In August 2015, Mensch tweeted a screenshot suggesting that antisemitic searches were being made by Jeremy Corbyn supporters to purposefully trigger offensive auto-complete suggestions for her Twitter account. Other users quickly pointed out that her screenshot was actually of her own search history. Mensch denied attempting to smear the Corbyn campaign.[79][80]

In September 2015, Mensch tweeted in defence of David Cameron, who had been accused of lurid sexual conduct with a dead pig while enrolled at Oxford University. Several of her tweets were deleted shortly after being posted.[81] She drew criticism for referring to a pig as an "inanimate object", insinuating that the story was not important if true, and questioned whether any journalists critical of Cameron had done "silly things" while "drunk at college".[82]

In April 2016, Mensch voiced her support for the movement involved in the Gamergate controversy, claiming that the controversy was a result of "falsely accused young men" and that it had "divided the feminists...and the fauxminists".[83]


  • Career Girls (1995)
  • The Movie (1996) aka Triple Feature
  • Tall Poppies (1997)
  • Venus Envy (1998)
  • A Kept Woman (2000) aka For All the Wrong Reasons
  • When She Was Bad... (2001)
  • The Devil You Know (2003)
  • Monday's Child (2004) aka The Go–To Girl
  • Tuesday's Child (2005)
  • Sparkles (2006)
  • Glamour (2007)
  • Glitz (2008)
  • Passion (2009)
  • Desire (2010)
  • Destiny (2011)
  • Beauty (2014) writing as Louise Mensch
  • "Career Game" (2015) writing as Louise Mensch
  • Five Romantic Reads (2005) (with Donna Hay, Laura Wolf, Jane Elizabeth Varley and Stella Chaplin)


  1. ^ Gimson, Andrew (12 August 2012). "Louise Mensch: writing herself out of the Tory story". The Guardian (London, England). 
  2. ^ a b "Louise Mensch to quit as an MP, triggering Corby by-election". BBC News. 6 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Marriages". The Times. 23 September 1969. p. 12. 
  4. ^ Scott, Caroline (6 March 2005). "Relative Values: Tilly and Louise Bagshawe". The Sunday Times (London, England). 
  5. ^ "The Landed Gentry of Britain". Wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com. 
  6. ^ David Cordingly (1996), Jane Turner, ed., "Stanfield, Clarkson", Grove Dictionary of Art (Macmillan Publishers) 
  7. ^ The Catholic Who's Who and Yearbook 33, 1940, p. 432 
  8. ^ Who's Who 2011, A & C Black, 2011 
  9. ^ a b "Question Time:This week's panel". BBC News. 10 January 2008. 
  10. ^ "Louise Mensch (Ex-MP)". parliamentaryrecord.com. 
  11. ^ Profile in The Independent 5 May 2012
  12. ^ Walker, Tim (27 May 2007). "Chick lit Tory candidate Louise Bagshawe splits from husband". The Daily Telegraph (London, England). 
  13. ^ a b d'Ancona, Matthew (2 February 2012). "Iron maiden". GQ (London, England). 
  14. ^ Singh, Anita (28 October 2012). "Louise Mensch, her hasty husband and two stories of why she threw in the towel". The Daily Telegraph (London, England). 
  15. ^ Dunbar, Polly; Pringle, Gill (14 November 2012). "Agony for New York wife as British lawmaker who had 20-year affair with and then married her rock-and-roll husband quits UK parliament and pitches up in Manhattan". Daily Mail (London, England). 
  16. ^ Walker, Tim (3 June 2011). "Tory MP Louise Bagshawe secretly marries Metallica manager Peter Mensch". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  17. ^ "Newsnight – Coogan and Mensch clash over press regulation". BBC News. 13 October 2011. 
  18. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (30 September 2011). "Louise Mensch: 'We're not all ogres'". The Guardian (London, England). 
  19. ^ "Has Louise Mensch had a facelift? Tory MP 'Cameron cutie' refuses to answer". Daily Mail (London, England). 2 October 2011. 
  20. ^ Carter, Caire (9 May 2013). "Louise Mensch reveals her battle with attention deficit disorder". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  21. ^ Scullion, Phil (29 July 2011). "Tory MP Louise Mensch apologises to Piers Morgan". Politics.co.uk. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  22. ^ a b King, Victoria (29 July 2011). "Tory MP Louise Mensch 'probably took drugs in club'". BBC News. 
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  30. ^ "BBC One Programmes – The Big Questions, Series 2, Episode 21". BBC News. 14 June 2009. 
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  33. ^ Mensch, Louise (24 January 2012). "Tory women bring feminism out of the ghetto". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  34. ^ "Rupert and James Murdoch before Parliament". The Economist Blog. 19 July 2011. 
  35. ^ Swaine, Jon (20 July 2011). "Phone hacking: Piers Morgan in on-air hacking row with Louise Mensch". The Daily Telegraph (London, England). 
  36. ^ "MP Mensch apologises to Piers Morgan for hacking slur". BBC News. 29 July 2011. 
  37. ^ Sanchez, Raf (29 July 2011). "Louise Mensch releases email allegations made by journalist". The Daily Telegraph (London, England). 
  38. ^ "Louise Mensch comes clean on Morgan, drugs and bad dancing". 4 News. 29 July 2011. 
  39. ^ Buckland, Lucy (7 November 2011). "Class A drugs caused me long-term mental damage: Tory MP Louise Mensch's candid confession". Mail Online. 
  40. ^ "Phone-hacking report 'partisan' – Tory MP Louise Mensch". BBC News. 1 May 2012. 
  41. ^ Deans, Jason; Plunkett, John (1 May 2012). "Phone hacking: select committee report unveiled". The Guardian Blog. London, England. 
  42. ^ "Was Rupert Murdoch's 'fitness' to run News Corp discussed?". BBC News. 2 May 2012. 
  43. ^ Wintour, Patrick; Sabbagh, Dan; Halliday, Josh (2 May 2012). "Phone-hacking: MPs clash over when Murdoch criticisms were discussed". The Guardian (London, England). 
  44. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa (3 May 2012). "Tom Watson accuses Louise Mensch of tabling pro-Murdoch amendments". The Guardian (London, England). 
  45. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa (3 May 2012). "News Corp was given private committee details, suggests Tom Watson". The Guardian (London, England). 
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  47. ^ "Louise Mensch internet troll banned from contacting General Petraeus and Lord Sugar". The Daily Telegraph (London, England). 11 June 2012. 
  48. ^ "Louise Mensch: social networks must identify internet bullies who cower behind anonymity". The Daily Telegraph (London, England). 13 June 2012. 
  49. ^ "Louise Mensch MP exposes shameful bullying of women on Twitter after personal attacks". The Daily Telegraph (London, England). 2 May 2012. 
  50. ^ It happened to me: ex-MP Louise Mensch cyberbullied me! , Us vs Th3m, 28 March 2014
  51. ^ Archived Tweet from Mensch's verified account, 26 March 2015
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  54. ^ Nelson, Sara C. (21 May 2015). "Louise Mensch Denies Bullying #Milifandom Teen Abby Tomlinson In 4,000 Word Blog". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
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  72. ^ Jones, Oliver (13 April 2013). "Opinion: Thatcher – respect her funeral and respect our right to protest". TNT. 
  73. ^ "Margaret Thatcher: David Mellor and Ken Livingstone discuss the late PM". stv.tv. 9 April 2013. 
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  77. ^ Helen Nianias (23 January 2015). "Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes". The Independent. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  78. ^ Mensch, Louise (2015-07-21). "The Silence of the Shams: #WCSJ2015 Falsely Reported Sir Tim Hunt". Unfashionista. Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  79. ^ Kevin Rawlinson (22 August 2015). "Louise Mensch takes Twitter swipe at Corbyn campaign – and hits herself". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
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  82. ^ Ellen Stewart (20 September 2015). "Louise Mensch has somehow defended David Cameron over pig gate". The Independent. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  83. ^ "‘Last Ship’ Star Adam Baldwin on Gamergate, Twitter Censorship and Hollywood". Heat Street. Retrieved 2016-04-21. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Phil Hope
Member of Parliament for Corby
Succeeded by
Andy Sawford