Friday, July 29, 2011

#Hackgate #Louise #Mensch responds to allegations from David Jones investagitive Journalist.

On 19 July, as part of the CMS Select Committee, I questioned Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks on phone hacking at the News of the World.

I also focussed questions on whether hacking and blagging was, in fact, widespread throughout Fleet Street.

On 22 July I received the following email, which I reprint here in full and respond to below:

Dear Mrs Mensch

We are informing you that we have come into possession of the following information, about yourself, and would like to ask you for any comments, before we publish this information.

1. Whilst working at EMI, in the 1990s, you took drugs with Nigel Kennedy at Ronnie Scott's in Birmingham, including dancing on a dance floor, whilst drunk, with Mr Kennedy, in front of journalists. Photos of this exist.

2. Whilst working at EMI, in the 1990s, you wrote a novel, of a sexual nature, on your work computer, during working hours, and that it was this that caused EMI to terminate your employment. Correspondence of this exists.

3. The resultant novel included derogatory references to a driver called Roger, a character you based on Roger Lewis, your then line manager, Managing Director at EMI, who is now Group Chief Executive of Welsh Rugby Union.

We look forward to hearing from you.

With thanks

David Jones Investigative Journalists

My response to the allegations is as follows:

1. Although I do not remember the specific incident, this sounds highly probable. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Nigel Kennedy, whom I remember with affection. Additionally, 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. I am not a very good dancer and must apologise to any and all journalists who were forced to watch me dance that night at Ronnie Scott's.

2. Writing the first few chapters of Career Girls on my EMI computer is quite correct. However, it was all done after work hours. It was also not why I was fired by EMI. "Leaving work early" and “missing the odd day at work” along with "inappropriate dress" were the reasons quoted to me.

3. “Career Girls” was my first novel. I used the names of many real people I knew for minor characters, such as journalists, chauffeurs, bankers, and so forth. Roger Lewis was probably amongst them, as were (off the top of my head) Therese Coffey MP, now my colleague on the Select Committee, Jeremy Quin, Damian Hinds MP, Maurice Oberstein, Rod Clayton, James Robertson, and many more. None of them have ever complained about my using their names in this way.

I would also like to note that I am thrilled that Roger is now the Group Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union. So many other co-workers from my music business days in the 90s have not found as exciting second careers.

Most importantly, I have not the slightest intention of being deterred from asking how far the culture of hacking and blagging extended in Fleet Street.