Don't judge us on looks, says MP Louise: Tory condemns 'trivialisation' of women politicians in magazine interview
Tory MP Louise Mensch has condemned the ‘trivialisation’ of women politicians who are judged on the basis of their appearance.
The outspoken backbencher used a photo shoot and interview with GQ magazine to explain why she was ‘longing’ to take her second husband’s name, complain that David Cameron has not promoted her and defend her drug-taking youth.
However, the attack will raise eyebrows given that it came in a magazine interview accompanied by high-glamour photographs of the outspoken backbencher and chick-lit novelist.
Glamorous: MP Louise Mensch as she appears in the new edition of GQ magazine
The twice-married mother of three wears a leather-fronted 485 Dolce & Gabbana skirt and 271 silk blouse by L’Agence and has her hair scraped back, with heavy dark eye make-up.
Mrs Mensch condemned speculation that she had undergone a facelift – she refused to deny last October that she had had cosmetic surgery – and claimed that talk about her appearance had ‘obscured’ her political statements.
She told GQ it was sexist to ‘trivialise a woman politician based on her appearance’ and made reference to oft-used pictures of Home Secretary Theresa May’s distinctive shoes.
In the driving seat: Mrs Mensch was happy to 'cooperate' with the photoshoot but refused to be pictured in 'skimpy outfits'
‘Everything I had said was washed away under the fluffy-bunny thing of looks. It is Theresa May’s kitten heels all over again,’ she said.
Interviewer Matthew d’Ancona points out that Mrs Mensch was happy to ‘co-operate’ with the photo-shoot but refused to be pictured in ‘skimpy outfits’.
The 40-year-old admitted that senior male politicians such as David Cameron or Gordon Brown have had photographs published of them jogging.
But she added: ‘What it won’t do is run for ages and obscure everything else you just said on some political thing.’
The MP, formerly Louise Bagshawe, goes
on to explain that she ‘hero worships’ her second husband, the rock
promoter Peter Mensch and had been ‘longing’ to take his surname.
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Dressed for success: The backbencher does have political ambitions but would rather see one of her novels adapted for the big screen
She told the magazine: ‘I have strong
feelings of hero worship towards him. I was longing to brand myself
with his name for a very long time. He’s a living legend and to be his
wife is the greatest honour’.
The backbencher, who is also the
author of chick-lit novels such as Venue Envy, also defended her
admissions to previously taking drugs, insisting that people are
prepared to forgive ‘youthful peccadillos because frankly most of our
generation have done it’.
She added that modern politicians can ‘get away’ with the use of drugs such as cannabis in their youth.
should imagine if you are a junior politician in your twenties and you
smoked a reefer and it was discovered 20 years later, you’d probably get
away with it,’ she told the magazine.
Mrs Mensch, who recently
rose to prominence during Rupert Murdoch’s grilling on phone-hacking by
the Commons culture committee, went on to make a tongue in cheek
complaint that she hadn’t yet been promoted to a government job.
said: ‘I’m not even a PPS (parliamentary private secretary, the lowest
run on the ministerial ladder). It’s kind of annoying. What do I have to
do to get promoted over here Am I being disloyal I don’t know.
The February edition of GQ, which goes on sale on Thursday
‘I need to sit down with my whip and say “What do I have to do” No, every time there is a raft of PPS promotions and my name is not on them, I have to sit down and think ‘What am I doing wrong’
The Tory MP goes on to say she would like to run her own department for war veterans or ‘have a crack’ at International Development.
‘I would very much like to have a crack at International Development,’ she said. ‘The other major issue that I have is I want to see a Veterans Administration Department.
‘I am not asking for something like the American Department of Veterans Affairs which has a budget of $80billion, but something more like a Canadian or Australian thing, where there is a co-ordinating function so the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.
‘The services available to veterans are not properly co-ordinated and I think it is a crying shame’.
Mrs Mensch, who has three children with her first husband, added that she would prefer to be a cabinet minister than win the Booker prize.
‘I don’t want the Booker prize, so I’ll take the cabinet minister,’ she said.
‘But if they gave me a choice between having a movie made (out of one of her books) and being a cabinet minister, I’d take having the movie made.’