Friday, 29 July 2011

Who sent that email to Louise Mensch MP?

The brilliant response by Louise Mensch MP to an "investigative journalist" has rightly gone viral.

I wrote last week at the New Statesman about the concerns that she was facing an intimidation campaign.

In view of this, it is perhaps interesting that the email which was sent to Louise was not from a formal newspaper email address but from "".

It is also interesting (and I have seen the original email) that it was copied to both Patrick McLoughlin MP (the Tory Chief Whip) and the chair of the Conservative Party.

How very bizarre.

Was it really an investigatory journalist? (There is no doubt that Louise thought it was and that is why she responded the way she did, and waited until Friday afternoon to do so as this can "spoil" a weekend exclusive.)

If so, which title was he working for?

Was it instead a "friend" or former colleague?

If so, why would they want to damage her by copying in senior Tories?

Who could it be? Who exactly is this "David Jones"?

And what did they want to achieve by sending the email?

ADDENDUM (30/7/11 at 17.30)

Helen Lewis-Hasteley, assistant editor at New Statesman emailed "David Jones" about the email:

Dear David,

My name's Helen and I work for the New Statesman. I read Louise Mensch's post about your email to her asking for her reply to allegations of drug-taking and other misdemeanours. I was hoping to write a blog post on her unorthodox - but widely praised - response. I wondered if I could ask you a couple of questions, for publication:

- Are you a freelancer or attached to a particular publication?
- Were you writing the story for a particular publication?
- In light of Louise Mensch's response, do you still intend to publish the original story you asked for a comment on?

This is his reply:

Dear Helen

Thank-you for your message.

The people who passed me this information about Mrs Louise Mensch were concerned that:

1. Louise Mensch supports the criminalisation of the drugs trade. They feel that Mrs Mensch may have further questions to answer with regard to the type of drugs she took. Their feeling is that the blogger jd-baker (http://jd, summed up the situation better than any other report from yesterday or today. *"**The only
gripe I have with Louise Mensch is that she still supports criminalisation of the drugs trade. As such she is saying that young people such as her former self should have their lives ruined by a criminal conviction, and possible custodial sentence. Would her life have panned out in the same way with such a tarnish on her record? If not then how can she condone this happening to other people? In supporting criminalisation she sadly defends a policy that has failed to effectively tackle addiction rates, or associated criminal behaviour."*

2. Louise Mensch is part of a committee looking into law-breaking. The taking of drugs is also serious illegal activity, one that kills and destroys millions of lives each year.

It is encouraging we live in a country with a free press, where illegal activity can be published.

With thanks

Louise Mensch MP has sent me this comment on the "David Jones" reply.

This is wholly disingenuous. My comments on drug use were posted yesterday, after this expose; as a search of Hansard will confirm, I have never spoken about drugs prior to this story.

Secondly, what possible relevance does "Mr. Jones" points 2 or 3 in his email to me have to this excuse?

Thirdly, in using the name "David Jones" he is using the name of a well-known investigative journalist at the Daily Mail. He additionally copied my Chief Whip, knowing who that person was and his email address, and the Chairman of my party. Those are actions of a journalist, who would understand such things.

His defence of a "free press" is nonsense. Let him state which paper or magazine was proposing to publish this story and let him give his real name and a phone number to the rest of the press.


No purely anonymous comments will be published; always use a name for ease of reference by other commenters.


Helen L-H said...

I've emailed "David Jones" on the address provided, and will let everyone know if I get a response.

Gurdur said...

I am extremely glad you have asked these questions publically, since they are very important.

SteelMagnolia said...

I like Louise very much she is her own woman and will not be intimidated by threats. There are too many in power throwing their weight around and trying to shut people up or else !

The sooner we get shot of Murdoch and his cronies the better.

Paul Webster said...

Take a look at the mail headers and see if the sender's IP address and some of the x- fields give a clue.

Donovan said...

This is now turning into somewhat of a "whodunnit"!

The truth is that this week has been all about raising Louise Mensch's profile via Twitter, CNN, Newsnight and even your New Statesman blog. She has had some success, engaging in dialogues with Piers Morgan and Alan Sugar.

The cynical truth is that this email was sent on the 22nd July, and there is no other explanation of why it was replied to today, other than to co-incide with her apology to Piers Morgan and therefore gain maximum coverage. MP's using PR companies is a worrying trend.

I suppose, in answer to the "whodunnit", the most enthralling answer would be Louise Mensch herself. Career Girls has some interesting parallels as a book, if you can face reading it! Fiction becoming reality...

Donovan said...

It's a good point about the mail headers. Click "show original" in gmail and paste the results and some of the more forensic of your readers can surely help!

Jack of Kent said...

@ Donovan

Please assume good faith.

Also, your theory cannot explain, and is undermined by, the fact the email was also copied to senior Tories. Even if the content would not surprise them, it would certainly mean she would not be the complete master of the timing of its publication.

So your cynical theory doesn't really work in view of the facts.

Leigh Caldwell said...

The real question about "David Jones" must surely be: which Wikipedia entries has he been editing?

Ceebs said...

That it's Gmail is interesting, it does exclude tracking the sender back through email headers, without court orders (and google aren't notoriously quick at providing answers when these sorts of processes are occurring)

Jon_S said...

I thought I'd email and ask, too. A copy of the message is here:

Jack of Kent said...

The Header is not revealing any IP data. This may because it is Gmail, or that it has been forwarded.

Jack of Kent said...

Just a thought: did the emailer intend to give Lousie the wrongful impression that he was David Jones, the well-known (in some circles) Daily Mail investigative reporter?

ceebs said...

The header you need is the original one that She received, but as its gmail it will be uninformative

Michael said...

The David Jones/Daily Mail blag certainly fooled me, I'm ashamed to admit:

Nick Gordon said...

I wonder if it's the same David Jones as in this Polly Toynbee story

Jennie Kermode said...

Ms Mensch is very much a leadership contender, though her sexual politics mean many in the party will consider her a liability, and her public appearances still need some polishing. As a consequence she has plenty of enemies and a knife in the back from a colleague wouldn't surprise me at all.

Lisbeth said...

David. You have a crush.

Jack of Kent said...


I have many crushes, but Louise is free from them. That is why I am happy to write objectively about all this.

There is a Tory MP I do have an incredible crush on, but that is for another time ;-)

sambeau said...

I take it it can't be this quality journalist, that would be too obvious…

Christine Burns said...

No . no .. NOOOooooo! Tell me it's not true David.

Tell me you've NOT got a crush on Nadine Dorries!

dartacus said...

If the sender(s) of the email had any sense at all, they would have done it from a public internet cafe or similar anonymous location. Even if the headers & routing information could be extracted, I doubt it would reveal much apart from a recently created google account & the IP address of an internet cafe.

Gareth (@dartacus)

Jimmy said...

"I've emailed "David Jones" on the address provided, and will let everyone know if I get a response. "

Well she's in Florida now, so you'll have to allow for the time difference.

Miss Teiken said...

Ohhh, it's not george osborne is it? (your crush i mean)

Jon_S said...

I received the same response as Helen Lewis, but I've posted it anyway, along with my response, in the same place as before:

This is becoming rather interesting.

raincoatoptimism said...

I know the identity of that Tory MP - I'll reveal all for cash.

In the interests of exhausting all possible theories, has Piers Morgan as author already been thrown out of the ring? If not him then an advocate, in the same way Johann Hari may have had an pseudonymous advocate on wikipedia?

Sam Gunn said...

I wasn't aware Gillian Anderson had become a Tory MP ;-p

This "David Jones" does seem an amateur. Did he/she really expect to lob a grenade and walk away? Smells like a Troll, to me.

James Baker said...

Interesting, I have never spoken to David Jones. I do have a lot of respect for the way in which Louise Mensch MP replied to these questions. I just also think MPs who took drugs in their youth and now speak out against it, and say that criminalisation is the right course of action are hypocrites. Of course maybe in private she thinks differently, but knows that the press would crucify her if she didn't appear repentant for her 'idiotic youth'.

Keith Martin said...

If we refuse to let people hold opinions that conflict with actions or stances they took earlier in their lives we are refusing to allow them to grow. (For example I would, in that case, have to call David a hypocrite for opposing the death penalty in a recent post here because he was for it as a youth.)
I would regard Louise Mensch as hypocritical if she spoke against drug use in public but took drugs in private, but that's not the same thing.

blackdogtales said...

It looks to me as if 'someone' was trying to spook her, and she wisely called the bluff and cancelled the threat by putting it in the public domain with an open and honest answer. It doesn't take the skills of a novelist to come up with a plausible plot and suspect. Who cares if she took drugs in her 20s anyway? Most people did and still do. I would rather they didn't, but it doesn't seem to have done her any harm...she would only be a hypocrite if she was taking drugs *now* and opposed to decriminalisation. I can't see Louise Mensch chasing the leadership (at this time anyway)... she's never off Twitter and her tweets are hardly the carefully crafted utterances of the uber-ambitious. A refreshing character in politics and she's done very well in making sure that the hacking and media scandal does not end with Coulson and Cameron.

BobbyDarin said...

She's a bit quick off the mark assuming it's a hack I think. The way he phrases his response "the people who passed me this information were concerned that..." makes me think it's unlikely to be a reporter for a national newspaper, or even a freelance who regularly supplies stories to the nationals.

Louise Mensch's assumption that it must be a reporter because he copied the email to two senior Tories seems very wide of the mark. It seems to me more like the actions of a politico of some sort.

Passing Stranger said...

It's interesting to note that there is no such organisation as 'David Jones Investigative Journalists' registered in any way, anywhere. So whoever this was, they are either trying to conceal their identity or are inflating their own importance and/or standing.

If I had to guess, I'd say it's the first.