UK Politics

Tory MP Louise Mensch 'probably took drugs in club'

Louise Mensch
Image caption Louise Mensch said it was "highly probable" the incident at the club had taken place

Conservative MP Louise Mensch has admitted she "probably" took drugs with violinist Nigel Kennedy when she was working for record company EMI.

The MP for Corby said she had been contacted by journalists who said they knew she had taken drugs at a nightclub.

The journalists claimed to have photographs of the night in question.

Asked about the allegation, Kennedy said he did "remember having some great times" with Mrs Mensch.

Mrs Mensch, who also writes romantic novels under her maiden name Louise Bagshawe, has published an e-mail from investigative journalists accusing her of taking drugs and dancing, while drunk, with the musician during her time as a press officer for EMI a number of years ago.

She has also made public her reply to the journalists, which stated: "Although I do not remember the specific incident, this sounds highly probable... 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."

She later posted a message on Twitter saying her actions had been "idiotic", adding that it was "never a good idea to mess with your brain".

'Pretty scary'

In a statement, Mr Kennedy said: "I am a socialist myself but do remember having some great times with my beautiful and very 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."

Mrs Mensch denied another allegation that she had been sacked by EMI for writing a novel during work hours.

She said she had used a work computer outside office hours for her book, but the stated reasons for her sacking had been "leaving work early", "missing the odd day at work" and "inappropriate dress".

She also denied making "derogatory references" to her former manager at EMI in one of her books.

'Dig up dirt'

John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the Commons culture committee, on which Mrs Mensch sits, said: "It seems to me Louise has been admirably up front and honest and I think her reputation and credibility are enhanced by that."

A Labour member of the committee, West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson, told BBC2's Newsnight he did not care what Mrs Mensch "did in nightclubs in the 1990s".

He added: "What she has effectively done today is give a very big finger to a... journalist who is trying to dig up dirt on her from many years ago, probably because she is involved in exposing the truth about hacking and what went on on our committee."

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was at Oxford University at the same time as Mrs Mensch, insisted he had only ever witnessed her enjoying a "small glass of sherry".

He told Newsnight the timing of the story was suspicious, although there was no proof there was an attempt to target her because of her involvement in the hacking probe.

Mrs Mensch's profile has increased recently as a result of her involvement in the phone-hacking scandal, questioning News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch as part of the culture committee.

She also became involved in a row with former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan after accusing him of "boasting" about hacking phones in his memoir.

Mr Morgan reacted angrily and demanded she apologise, which she has now done.

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