Louise Mensch has taken to Twitter to accept the blame for the Conservatives' predicted defeat in Corby, the seat she controversially quit mid-term.
In a seemingly pre-emptive bid to excuse the Tories failure to hold the Northamptonshire seat, Mensch said the election result would not be a verdict on either the party or its candidate Christine Emmett but rather on her decision to stand down to move to New York.
Labour sources said on Thursday night they were "cautiously optimistic" of winning the seat, with the local turnout estimated at more than 40%.
The former chick-lit novelist took the seat in 2010 – the first time the Tories had gained it since 1992.
But a byelection was triggered by her decision to move her family to the US halfway through the parliament to be closer to her husband Peter, the manager of rock bands Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
On her Twitter account on Thursday night Mensch wrote: "Election result will not be a verdict on either Christine, or the Conservatives, but only on the decision I took to step down mid-term.
"Though I had to resign to unite our family, there was large & entirely understandable local anger. I wish I had been able to see out my term
Journalist Tim Brannigan responded witheringly to her mea culpa. He tweeted: "@LouiseMensch Way to kiss of death an election count. At least let them open the polling boxes..."
Tory activists have complained the 'Mensch factor' has seriously undermined efforts to defend the slim 2,000 majority she won at the 2010 general election.
Locals were unimpressed when she announced her exit from Westminster due to the pressures of raising her family and a transatlantic relationship.
The Corby result, expected on Friday afternoon, is regarded as the first major byelection test for prime minister David Cameron.
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