Nadine Dorries targeted by ‘publicity seeker’ Labour MP to force her out
Rishi Sunak says Nadine Dorries is not doing her job as an MP
Friends of former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries have rounded on Labour MP Sir Christopher Bryant who has used his position to try to engineer the rules to have her removed as an MP.
Sir Christopher wants to resurrect a Commons rule from 1801, more than two centuries, to try to force the MP for Mid Bedfordshire and strong ally of Boris Johnson out of Parliament.
The rule states that “no member do presume to go out of town without leave of this House” and he has been in discussion with party whips for both the Tories and Labour to try to hold a vote to order Ms Dorries to appear in the House.
Friends of Ms Dorries have also accused Bryant of being “a well-known publicity seeker”.
One said: “This is just his latest stunt to get himself noticed.”
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However, Sir Christopher’s proposal is based on Ms Dorries not turning up to vote for almost six months and not speaking in Parliament for a year.
He has stated to the BBC and Financial Times that he wants MPs to be held to the same standard as councillors who have to attend to get their allowance.
He believes that a vote on that motion forcing Ms Dorries to attend would mean she would have to appear in Parliament or be guilty of “contempt”.
If she was then suspended for 10 days or more there could be a recall petition in her Mid Bedfordshire constituency.
Asked if he intends to table a motion to force Ms Dorries out when Parliament returns in the autumn, Sir Christopher said: “Maybe she’ll turn up on the first day back in September and take part in debates and so on. Or maybe she’ll resign… Let’s see what happens.”
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But speaking of Ms Dorries’s record in Parliament in recent months, he said: “I just think this is bringing the whole system into disrepute.
“Why should you be allowed to draw a salary and claim expenses for your staff and all that kind of stuff if you’re not actually doing the job of turning up?”
The issue blew up recently when Flitwick Town Council, which includes an independent councillor who intends to run at the enxt general election, in her constituency wrote an open letter demanding she resign.
Then Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has been subject to public criticism from Ms Dorries over the removal of Boris Johnson, also weighed in and accused her last week of not representing her constituents properly.
Ms Dorries had announced her intention to resign with “immediate effect” in June after she was denied a peerage from Boris Johnson’s honours list.
However, she has not resigned as an MP and is still seeking answers over why she was blackballed for the Lords.
Currently, she is writing a book on the plot to oust Mr Johnson which is due to be published ahead of the Conservative Party conference in October.
She is also presenting a weekly show on Talk TV.
While some believe she is “distracted” from her parliamentary duties, a number of Conservative MPs privately fear that the move by Sir Christopher is a “vindictive” attempt to try “to punish yet another ally of Boris Johnson”.
Sir Christopher had to recuse himself from the so-called “trial of Boris” by the Privileges Committee because he had stated before hearing the evidence that the former Prime Minister was guilty of lying to Parliament.
And there were concerns that MPs, including Ms Dorries, who spoke out in support of Mr Johnson and criticised the Privileges Committee over the inquiry were also reprimanded in the House.
A number were angry over the way the committee conducted itself and the 90-day suspension it recommended which Mr Johnson did not serve because he resigned from Parliament ahead of the report being published.
One MP said: “We have learnt you have to be careful what you say publicly but clearly there is an obsession to get Boris and anybody who supports him.”
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