Louise Mensch has been hit by a backlash over her decision to stand down, with leading Tories questioning her commitment to her constituents.

The prominent Corby MP was met with widespread sympathy when she announced she was resigning as an MP to spend more time with family in New York, but a minority of commentators attacked her for not treating her parliamentary career with the seriousness it deserved.

"Forty-year-old Louise had claimed the high ground as champion of modern 'have it all' women. Now, apparently, it can't be done," former Tory health minister Edwina Currie wrote in the Daily Express.

"To hold down a demanding job in country A, it doesn’t help to have a spouse in country B (let alone a different continent). Nor is it a great plan to spend the summer writing novels.

"Surely that could have been put on hold? Being an MP matters.

"I feel let down and I bet the voters of Corby are furious."

Currie was joined in her attack by Norman Tebbit, former Conservative chairman and still an influential voice in Tory circles.

"I cannot look into the heart of Mrs Mensch, but it appears that she has put her newly acquired husband above the constituents that her website still says she was 'honoured to have been elected to represent' only two years ago," he wrote in the Telegraph.

"It is the apparently casual attitude of Mrs Mensch towards the obligations she had undertaken which concerns me: it is as if these days being a member of parliament is no more than a job."

Mensch was a chick-lit author before entering parliament and started up a social media site while at Westminster – a project she is expected to continue once she moves to the US.

The attractive backbencher figure was popular online for her brand of Conservative feminism and independent views, but some suggested her decision to resign reveals the flippancy with which David Cameron's A-list of 2010 candidates treat politics.