Andy McSmith's Diary: Nadine Dorries and a mystery consultancy


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Indy Politics

Just in case David Cameron has been weighing up whether to call Nadine Dorries to offer her a place in the government, he need not bother. In a wide-ranging interview with Total Politics magazine, the wayward, Ukip-friendly Tory MP has said that she would “absolutely hate” to be a minister. That is not her only hate. Female journalists, she says, are “so vitriolic [about] other women [that] they do women politicians no favours whatsoever”.

Some other thoughts from the same brain: only “idiots” believe there will be a Conservative majority under Cameron at the next election, and the Conservatives would be “idiots” not to have Boris Johnson as their next leader.

That aside, there is a topic on which the normally garrulous Ms Dorries is quite coy, and that is whether she was paid to go on I’m a Celebrity…  last year. People do not generally go on a reality show for nothing, but Ms Dorries has not recorded any such payment in the Register of Members’ Interests.

“If I haven’t registered a payment, I haven’t received one,” she once told the Daily Mirror, a reply which failed to satisfy the Labour MP John Mann, who has asked the parliamentary commissioner to investigate.

On the updated register, Ms Dorries has now declared that she is a director and shareholder of Averbrook, a company with a strange history. It was registered 19 years ago as an engineering consultancy, at the address of an accountants’ firm in Newcastle-under-Lyme. By 2011, its annual accounts recorded that it had no assets and a net worth of nil.

Nadine Dorries became a director of this worthless firm in October last year, six weeks ahead of her appearance on I’m a Celebrity…  but did not declare it until Monday of last week, more than eight months later. She describes it as a “media consultancy”. It will be interesting to see the company accounts, when they are filed.

When a PR firm is not what it seems

There are no questions marks over Patrick Mercer’s entry in the register, by the way. On 28 May, he even dutifully registered receipt of £2,000 from “Alistair Andrews Communications”.

He resigned the Tory whip later that week, on discovering that “Alistair Andrews Communications” were not who they claimed to be.

Successful women  beware women’s envy

“Some women can be a bit devious, especially if you’re successful. They’re jealous and envious,” the novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford tells the current issue of the Radio Times. A little later, the interview turns to the subject of Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s “terribly badly written, repetitive and not even sexy”, she opines – without a trace of envy.