Louise Mensch was the target of violent and misogynistic comments after she defended her decision to vote against the Culture Committee's conclusion that Rupert Murdoch was unfit to run a major company.
Incensed at her condemnation of the report's contentious findings about the newspaper proprietor at a press conference and the BBC's Newsnight on Tuesday, Twitter users poured vitriol on the Conservative MP for Corby.
One tweet – retweeted by the Labour activist Dan Hodges "in condemnation" – said: "Louise Mensch is attractive but makes me want to hit her with a hammer. In the face. Which is a shame." Another commentator wrote: "Louise Mensch completing her epic day as the nation's ultimate demented Tory bitch on Newsnight." Another described her as a "typical soulless rich whore".
More moderate internet users joined the attack, with one writing: "Louise Mensch. You are a mother. Would you dare defend Murdoch to Milly Dowler's mum? It makes me quite dizzy with anger and disgust."
Ms Mensch, who condemned the "misogyny and bullying", retweeted some of the most offensive comments, telling her 50,000 followers: "Women too often shamed into silence. Sod it." Other bloggers leapt to her defence, with several stressing that she had never questioned the integrity of Labour MPs who supported the comments about News Corp's chief executive. After being inundated with supportive messages, Ms Mensch – best known as the chick-lit author Louise Bagshawe before becoming an MP in 2010 – said: "Wow. Thank you all Twitter for the support. I appreciate it."
In a turbulent 24 hours, Ms Mensch clashed with another committee member, Paul Farrelly, at a coffee kiosk in Parliament's Portcullis House. During the public argument yesterday morning, she emphatically repeated that the issue of Mr Murdoch's fitness to run a company had not been discussed by the committee until its final meeting.
Mr Farrelly said that he had checked the record, which showed that the phrase was included in an amendment circulated by the clerks to committee members on 20 March and contained in the agenda of a meeting of the cross-party committee on 27 March. Because there was no prospect of a unanimous agreement, discussion of the finding was put off until the final meeting on Monday, when there was a vote.
A chairman of another Commons select committee expressed sympathy for the Conservative chairman of the Culture Committee, John Whittingdale. "It must have been a nightmare chairing it," he said.