The good folk of Mid Beds appear to be missing an active MP. Where is Nadine Dorries?
Marina Hyde/ The Guardian:
If you are a Mid Bedfordshire resident living in mould-infested rental accommodation with an asthmatic child, should you contact Nadine Dorries’s theatrical agent? The question arises – theoretically speaking – after a glance at Nadine’s social media profile, which reads: “Recovering secretary of state. Sunday Times bestseller. TalkTV Friday Night with Nadine 8pm. Daily Mail Tuesday columnist.”
Agent details are listed. But has she missed something? Has madam, in the rush to announce herself as entertainment’s hottest multi-hyphenate, omitted a string to her bow? Spokesmodel for a biodynamic shellac brand, perhaps? Creative genius behind a range of steelcapped espadrilles? Gaffepreneur?
People in Mid Bedfordshire seem to think a more significant line of work has been left out, what with the fact Nadine Dorries is still their member of parliament. Nominally, yes – but meaningfully? Unclear.
Nadine last spoke in the Commons more than a year ago, and last voted back in April. As you may know, she didn’t manage to get the peerage Boris Johnson had promised her in his resignation honours back in early June. Having raged publicly in every available format about this, Nadine announced she would be resigning as Mid Beds MP “with immediate effect”, a pledge that turns out to redefine the words “immediate” and “effect”.
Put simply: it’s been a long time since she made it, and jack shit has happened. She still draws her £86,500 MP’s salary. She still reportedly employs one of her daughters as a senior parliamentary assistant, a role where the average salary is £42,000.
Dorries’s next published work will be a book called The Plot, apparently about “the political assassination of Boris Johnson”. Perhaps she’ll finally resign as part of the promotional campaign for its September release – right before party conference, in a way calculated to cause the most possible trouble for Rishi Sunak.
In the meantime, Nadine seems to have become a single-issue politician, that issue being: why the hell didn’t I get a peerage? She was last heard of making a subject access request to try to answer this question, and getting knocked back by the Cabinet Office on the basis that information relating to honours is exempt from disclosure rules; and in any case, collecting every single piece of government correspondence in which Dorries is mentioned over recent years would be a pointlessly vast task.And yet, the actual answer does not seem desperately opaque. Johnson was told long before the list was finally submitted that Nadine wouldn’t be able to get one if she clung on to her parliamentary seat until the next election, but he either thought this rule somehow wouldn’t apply to his honours picks, or just forgot to tell her because it was a hassle and he doesn’t really care about anybody except himself. It’s really not complicated. I mean, look at the state of the House of Lords – you can hardly say there’s a conspiracy to keep useless horrors out of it.
Strangely, the non-baronessing of Nadine does not appear to be an issue preoccupying her constituents and erstwhile colleagues. Rishi Sunak has said her constituents deserve committed representation; Keir Starmer demands that the PM somehow make that happen. When Tory MP Caroline Nokes went on air this week and said Dorries should “crack on” and stand down, given “her heart’s not in it”, opprobrium finally reached critical mass. Dorries duly emerged from the metropolitan elite circles gestured towards in her bio, issuing a statement to the News Agents podcast in which she claimed to be “working daily”.
This seems to be news to many in the constituency. Dorries has not held a surgery for three and a half years, and the building in which she once did so was long ago turned into a dance studio. She lives, as you’d expect of the Mid Beds MP, somewhere in Gloucestershire.
For all her maddening escapades, though, Dorries was occasionally notably right about things.
There was something fantastically entitled and born-to-rule about David Cameron, who did indeed run his government in a lofty, patrician way, until it bit him on the bum so badly that history might judge the defining Cameron quality to be a total absence of bum.