To the surprise of most people, Louise Mensch has just announced that she is resigning as an MP with immediate effect. Mensch intends to move to New York to live with her husband, Metallica manager Peter Mensch, who is based in the city. She told her local paper, the Northamptonshire Telegraph:
I am completely devastated. It’s been unbelievably difficult to manage family life.
We have been trying to find a way forward with the Prime Minister’s office but I just can’t spend as much time with my children as I want to.
I love Corby and East Northamptonshire but my family has to come first.
When I took the post I was in a different position but sometimes life throws you a curve ball that you didn’t expect.
We are now going to be moving out to New York as a family.
Every family is different and another mother might feel she can manage things.
It’s been an honour to represent the people of Corby and East Northants and I will miss them.
As I said, Mensch's decision will come as a surprise to most people, but she had previously hinted that she would leave politics behind. In an interview with the New Statesman last October, she told Jon Bernstein:
I may well do something else. I'm not sure I make old bones in parliament. It's an amazing experience to have had but I can't see myself being Mother of the House.
Asked if she would fight the next election, she replied:
I haven't made up my mind. It is an extremely difficult balancing act with three small children and a husband who lives in New York. I'm stretched multiple ways.
The Tories now face what is likely to be a challenging by-election in Corby on 15 November. At the last election, the party narrowly gained the seat from Labour with a majority of 1,951.