Steerpike Steerpike

Nadine Dorries causes Rishi Sunak even more misery

Photo by Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images

She’s done it again. Having re-ignited the Tory wars with her shock plans to quit parliament last Friday, now Nadine Dorries is delaying her resignation plans – prolonging the by-election misery for Rishi Sunak. The former Culture Secretary may not leave the Commons until the summer recess, pushing a by-election in her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency into the run-up to the Tories’ annual conference in the autumn. Just when Rishi wants to sell himself to the nation…

Friends of hers have told the Daily Mail – where Dorries writes a weekly column – that former Labour MP Rosie Cooper took two months to go after she formally resigned. ‘It’s her prerogative when she decides to go,’ said one. ‘She’s not going to give Sunak the convenience of three by-elections on the same day.’ Tory operators had hoped that the trio of contests caused by the resignations of Dorries, Nigel Adams and Boris Johnson would be held concurrently to limit the likelihood of opposition parties winning all three. Now though, Labour can focus their efforts on replacing Adams in Selby and Johnson in Uxbridge. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile have enough time to find a decent candidate to take on the Tories in Mid-Bedfordshire, the one which the Conservatives looked most likely to retain.

Maybe Sunak should have given her that peerage after all…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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