"We don't have marital spats," said the former MP Louise Mensch. "For the record, I love my most talented wife," said her husband. "No marital spat."
Interesting that they both chose the same word. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a "spat" is "a short argument, usually about something that is not important", so it's probably more accurate to describe what happened after Mrs read Mr's interview as a full scale barney, which could be defined as a long argument about something pretty damn important.
There is something unedifying – and yet reassuring – about seeing married couples quarrel in public. We've all experienced the social situation when a husband and wife are at daggers drawn over the table, and our first response is embarrassment, followed swiftly by the guilty pleasure that it isn't us. Heaven knows what we are supposed to think about a couple who have a domestic on Twitter.
We thought we'd heard the last of the publicity-addicted Mrs Mensch, above, when she announced her resignation from the parliamentary seat of Corby and East Northamptonshire in August, determining to move to New York to send more time with her family (her husband Peter is there).
As a voluble member of the Commons select committee investigating phone hacking, she was on Newsnight more often than Paxman, and her tweets – she has more than 73,000 followers – were treated as important bulletins. She's been in the news for admitting taking class A drugs and for apologising to Piers Morgan (both heinous offences, in my book).
It was sometimes hard to know where Louise Mensch finished and Sally Bercow started, but any idea that relocation across the Atlantic would take Mrs Mensch from our purview has proved to be misguided.
In his interview, Mr Mensch said that his wife had given up her seat through fear of being "killed" at the ballot box in the next election, and was frustrated because she hasn't been promoted by the Conservative administration. Quite a departure from the official version. Thus began the first high-profile husband-and-wife row conducted over 140 characters in public.
It was the protestations of love that were the giveaway. Her: "He doesn't do on-message and I love him for it", and "I adore the guy". Him: "My enthusiasm for her is greater than my recollection of the facts".
Who do they think they're kidding? For a start, why did they think Peter Mensch was deemed worthy of being interviewed in the first place? To discuss Metallica's touring plans? For his views on the oeuvre of Def Leppard? No, they were hoping he'd be indiscreet about his wife. And he didn't disappoint.
It is difficult to imagine that it was sweetness and light over the tea and toast chez Mensch yesterday morning. "Only one good thing has come out of this whole sorry affair," I can hear her telling her husband. "I'm back in the news".Reuse content