A Conservative MP who questioned Rupert and James Murdoch about the extent of journalistic malpractice on Fleet Street suggested yesterday that she herself may have become a victim of a smear campaign.
Louise Mensch (right) revealed that she had received an email from a group called "David Jones Investigative Journalists" alleging that she had taken drugs with the violinist Nigel Kennedy in the 1990s, written a novel of a sexual nature while she was supposed to be working for the record label EMI and included derogatory references in the book to her line manager at the company.
The email suggested that David Jones Investigative Journalists intended to publish the claims (although it did not say where) and asked for her response. That came yesterday – when Ms Mensch replied to the email, copying in Westminster journalists and Patrick McLoughlin, the Conservative chief whip.
Her extraordinarily frank reply admitted some of the allegations, built on others and in the process blew away any chance that those who sent the email could have an exclusive story on their hands. "Although I do not remember the specific incident, this sounds highly probable," she replied. "I thoroughly enjoyed working with Nigel Kennedy. Additionally, 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."
In a statement, Kennedy said: "I am a socialist myself but do remember having some great times with my beautiful and clever right-wing friend when she was at EMI. Louise is pretty scary and I would warn anyone that it's not a good idea to mess with her."
Ms Mensch said she would release the email address from which she received the questions. At the same time she released a letter apologising to the former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan (left) for misquoting him during her questioning of the Murdochs. She said she had "wrongly" stated Morgan had been open about personally hacking phones in a book he wrote.