Mensch: I quit as MP to spend time with my family

Resignation of high-profile Tory triggers unwelcome by-election in marginal seat

Louise Mensch, the best-selling author and Tory MP, announced yesterday that she is quitting politics after only two years in the Commons to join her husband in New York. Her decision presents David Cameron with a highly unwelcome by-election in the marginal seat of Corby, in Northamptonshire.

London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, immediately quashed speculation that he might be interested in standing in a seat which the Tories won by only 1,951 votes in 2010. Previously, it was a Labour seat for 13 years.

In a very short parliamentary career, Ms Mensch became very well known because of her confident television performances and adroit use of social media. She was a loyal government supporter who expected to find herself on the fast track to promotion, and, as a member of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, attracted attention as an outspoken defender of the Murdoch media empire.

But in an interview with GQ magazine last January, she voiced her frustration at not being given a job in government. "What do I have to do to get promoted over here?" she demanded.

Ms Mensch, who has three children, has since decided that being an MP – let alone a government minister – has put too much strain on her family life. Writing to the Prime Minister to announce her resignation, she said: "I have been struggling for some time to find the best outcome for my family life, and have decided, in order to keep us together, to move to New York."

She was well known as the chick-lit author Louise Bagshawe before becoming an MP, changing her surname when she married Peter Mensch, manager of the American heavy rock band Metallica, in June 2011.

MPs from both sides of the Commons paid tribute to her yesterday, with Labour MPs praising her as an asset to Parliament despite her outspoken opinions. Andy Sawford, Labour's prospective candidate in Corby, said: "Louise Mensch was obviously struggling to balance being MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire with her family and business commitments. I respect her for the honest way she talked about this and her decision to step down."

That contrasted with the furious reactions she often stirred up among members of the public. A Twitter star, with over 102,000 followers, she was also a target for internet trolls. In June, Frank Zimmerman, 60, received a suspended prison sentence for sending her a threatening email.

And many of her fellow Tories were privately seething she had forced them to defend a highly marginal seat, which Mr Sawford is the favourite to win. The election is likely to be held on 15 November. There is no modern precedent for an MP to quit mid-way through a parliament in order to leave politics altogether, or for anyone to quit the Commons just two years after being elected for the first time.

Her departure was seen as evidence of the extreme difficulties of combining a political career with bringing up young children. "I'm so sad Louise Mensch is stepping down, a true star and a great friend – highlights challenges for MP parents of young children," her fellow Tory MP Claire Perry tweeted.

But interviewed 11 years ago, when she was 30, Louise Bagshawe announced her wish to accumulate enough money so that she could retire in 2011 or 2012. She said then: "I don't think the desire to make money is bad or evil. I'm a firm believer in capitalism and Thatcherism. I want to retire very early, by the time I am 40, and go to live in Italy."

Resignation letter: Sorry... I have been unable to make the balancing act work

Dear Prime Minister,

As you know, I have been struggling for some time to find the best outcome for my family life, and have decided, in order to keep us together, to move to New York. With the greatest regret, I am thus resigning as a Member of Parliament.

Your allowing me to work in Corby and East Northamptonshire each Thursday and Friday has enabled me to … visit many more people and places around our local area, whilst still spending time with my children. Unfortunately, it has not proved to be enough. I am very sorry that despite my best efforts, I have been unable to make the balancing act work for our family.

For your many personal kindnesses to me, I am eternally grateful.

Yours ever,

Louise Mensch MP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power