Nadine Dorries should go now after failure to resign as promised, says Tory minister

Robert Jenrick says ex-culture secretary must realise ‘soon’ she is failing constituents

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 09 August 2023 12:18 BST
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Nadine Dorries should resign, Chris Bryant says

A senior Conservative minister has called on Nadine Dorries to “get on” with her promise to quit parliament by stepping down from her seat as soon as possible.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick made clear his frustration with the staunch Boris Johnson ally and her refusal to formally resign – despite vowing to leave with immediate effect two months ago.

The former culture secretary said on 9 June she would quit her Mid Bedfordshire seat in fury over her failure to get a peerage in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours, alleging that “posh boy” Rishi Sunak had blocked it.

But she has yet to formally resign – demanding that the Sunak government hands over any documents related to the peerage decision before she goes.

Asked if it was finally time for her to go, Mr Jenrick told Sky News on Wednesday: “Yes.”

The minister said: “Being in parliament is a special privilege. You sign up for a term in office if you decide you want to leave parliament for whatever reason you need to get on and do that.”

Mr Jenrick added: “I don’t think Nadine Dorries’ constituents are being properly represented. I hope she’ll reach that conclusion soon.”

Ms Dorries has not spoken in the Commons for over a year and has been urged to step down – including by a local council in her constituency.

Senior Labour MP Chris Bryant has warned that she could be ousted from his Mid-Bedforshire using an obscure law when parliament returns in early September.

The chair of the standards select committee says an 1801 rule preventing MPs from going “out of town without leave of the house” should be reinstated, and hopes to win cross-party support.

Nadine Dorries has sparked guessing game on when she will quit
Nadine Dorries has sparked guessing game on when she will quit (PA Archive)

Asked about Mr Bryant’s plan, Mr Jenrick said: “I’m not familiar with the details of his proposal. I know he’s relying on quite an arcane piece of legislation … If he puts forward serious proposals, as individual members of parliament we’ll have to consider that.”

Asked if she was now an embarrassment to the Tory party, the immigration minister suggested she was failed to represent the people of Mid-Bedfordshire.

“I’m not going to get into particular criticism of Nadine … you should get on, so that people in your constituency have the representation they deserve.”

Sir Chris said that when MPs return in September it would be “perfectly legitimate” to table a motion saying MPs who fail to show up for six months must attend a date or be suspended for 10 sitting days or more.

Such a suspension would trigger the threshold for Ms Dorries’ constituents to launch a recall petition again her, finally triggering the by-election she promised in June.

Ms Dorries broke her recent silence on Tuesday, accusing Mr Bryant of “publicity seeking” after he revealed he had been repeatedly groped by male colleagues during his time in parliament.

“Ahh, Chris Bryant has a book out – well, I never. This latest bout of publicity seeking was so unlike him… All is now clear,” she tweeted on X.

The Independent revealed last month that Ms Dorries is set to an earn an extra £22,000 from the taxpayer by clinging on to her job in parliament over the summer.

Some Tory MPs now expect her to wait until later in the year before finally exiting parliament. But some fear she will try to cling on all the way to the general election, likely to be in autumn 2024.

“I doubt she will resign now,” one senior Tory told The Independent, saying she wanted to hang around as long as possible to cause the maximum amount of trouble for Mr Sunak.

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