Among all the boredom yesterday afternoon as the Murdochs were interrogated before the Commons culture committee was the surprising and flagrantly dishonest intervention of one Louise Mensch. Who she? Well, Ms M is Tory MP for Corby, having won the seat from Labour incumbent Phil Hope last year. And she writes so-called “chick lit” fiction.
She is also one of the five MPs to have been quoted by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, who styles himself Guido Fawkes, and has falsely tried to pin phone hacking on the appalling Piers “Morgan” Moron, while the latter was editor of the Daily Mirror. But as I pointed out recently, the story that Staines homed in on, the Sven’n’Ulrika affair, was gifted to the Mirror as a spoiler.
Ms Mensch asserted during the hearings – twice, once during the Murdochs’ questioning and again during the session with Rebekah Brooks – that Moron had “boasted that using that ‘little trick’ [entering a default PIN code when a phone went to voicemail] had enabled him to win scoop of the year on a story about Sven-Goran Eriksson”. This “boast” was supposedly in Moron’s book The Insider.
There is only one problem with this assertion: Moron didn’t make it. This may be because, as I pointed out, the paper that hacked Ulrika Jonsson’s voicemail – and the one she is taking to court over hacking – was the Screws, and not the Mirror. So, for once in his life, the host of the all-new Percy Moron Show was able to claim the moral high ground.
And so it was that Louise Mensch then appeared before CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who played the clip of her telling her newly minted whopper, but found Corby’s representative in Parliament claiming privilege and declining to repeat it outside. Blitzer then had the great Moron himself on, and Percy was clearly not pleased. And, as I’ve pointed out, despite my deep dislike of Moron, this time he is right and Louise is wrong.
So why did she do it? Already, the Mensch Twitter feed has attempted to justify the smear by showing how Moron left the Mirror, but that doesn’t cause her whopper to prove true. There are two possible explanations: either it’s a shameless abuse of Parliamentary privilege to provide a publicity stunt, or she’s taken the Staines story as fact without checking it first. If I were part of her electorate, neither would impress.
Or maybe I missed something. More on this sideshow later.