How can Nadine Dorries talk about ‘in-fighting’ when she’s the architect of it?
One day we may learn exactly what lies behind Nadine Dorries’ fanatical loyalty towards Boris Johnson. She behaves like she would die for him, such is her passion for the mangey old alley cat.
During the various leadership crises that eventually led to his downfall, she was always there for him. She was there in front of the television cameras with some memorably swaying performances when everyone else was fleeing. She was there when he needed someone to declare, against a tower of formidable evidence, that “the prime minister tells the truth”.
Her emotional attachment has almost led to on-screen embrassment. The final broadcast exchange with Johnson after her hyper-sycophantic interview with him last week went like this:
Johnson: “Thank you for having me on your first show, Nadine.” Nadine Dorries: “I nearly wet myself then.”
Not exactly Frost/Nixon, but a television landmark in its own way.
She has long been seemingly prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. Now, it seems she is laying down her political life for her friend (she always says he’s her, friend but you have to wonder how often she’ll see him now she’s of no further use). She’s standing down at the next election, no doubt to spend more time nurturing her grievances.
There’s a rumour that she may be creating a vacancy in her (relatively) safe parliamentary constituency of Mid Bedfordshire (majority: 24,664), just in case Johnson wants to make the “chicken run” from his highly vulnerable seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Johnson, it’s been widely reported, has nominated her for a peerage (though delivery delayed until the next election).
Without Boris, it seems, life is hardly worth living. Social media is haunted by an image of her in the Commons staring up doe-eyed at her hero, like a love struck teenager, as he blusters and blunders his way through another session of prime minister’s questions. Her devotion was absolute; and matched only by her scorn for his assassins – none more so than Rishi Sunak. I imagine she cannot even bring herself to utter his name in private. Wretch!
The irony runs deep. Having condemned those who, supposedly, betrayed Johnson, Dorries feels no loyalty towards Sunak; and she gets personal: “The assassin’s gleaming smile, his gentle voice and even his diminutive stature had many of us well and truly fooled.”
She added that this modern Brutus “travelled along a path of treachery, and in doing so is unlikely to win the hearts and minds of Conservative party members because, above all else, they value loyalty and decency.”
And here’s what the woman David Cameron called “Mad Nads” said on her new cable TV show. It’s quoted at some length to demonstrate just how readily Dorries can wax philisophical about her pet hates (i.e. virtually the rest of the parliamentary Conservative Party):
“Those MPs who drank the Kool-Aid and got rid of Boris Johnson are already asking themselves the question: who next? And I’m afraid that the lack of cohesion, the infighting and occasionally the sheer stupidity from those who think we could remove a sitting prime minister, who secured a higher percentage of the vote share than Tony Blair did in 1997, just three short years ago …
“That they could do that and the public would let us get away with it. I’m afraid it’s this behaviour that I now just have to remove myself from. And so, despite it being a job that I’ve loved for every year that I’ve done it, I’m now off. Oh gosh, I’ve just said it out loud, there’s no going back now.”
Indeed not, but there’s been no going back for some time. With her friend and sponsor gone, her political life is indeed over, and you can almost feel the anguish as she took to Twitter last month to decry the way her legacy is being dismantled:
“Three years of a progressive Tory government being washed down the drain. Levelling up, dumped. Social care reform, dumped. Keeping young and vulnerable people safe online, watered down. A bonfire of EU leg, not happening. Sale of C4 giving back £2b reversed. Replaced with what?
A policy at some time in the future to teach maths for longer with teachers we don’t yet even have to do so. Where is the mandate- who voted for this? Will now be almost impossible to face the electorate at a GE and expect voters to believe or trust our manifesto commitments.”
The great irony is that Dorries did her bit to discredit her party and make the Tories look ridiculous. Long before Matt Hancock, it was she who took herself off to the jungle to eat kangaroo anus on I’m a Celebrity, and failed at first to declare her fee in the register of MPs interests.
It was Dorries who Johnson appointed to be culture secretary, as a private joke it seems, to upset the luvvies. It was Dorries who told MPs that she wanted to privatise Channel 4 because it relied on public money when it didn’t; and she who thought Channel 5 had been privatised (it was never state-owned).
It was she who gave cringey interviews about whether she talks to PM Johnson. It was she who wrote execrable novels with passages such as this literary gem: