Nadine Dorries has this evening explained why she isn’t yet resigning as an MP, after she initially quit ‘with immediate effect’ last Friday. The Mid Bedfordshire MP had gone mysteriously quiet after her announcement, prompting Downing Street to suggest that she was letting her soon-to-be-former constituents down. She has now revealed that she is waiting for a subject access request to the House of Lords Appointment Committee, Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Office.
I understand from friends of Dorries that she is ‘desperate to resign’ and is upset about having to remain in place while she waits for the subject access request to be returned, but that a lawyer in her constituency approached her and advised her that she may need access to parliamentary privilege with the results of that investigation. She has requested all WhatsApp and text messages, minute of meetings and emails relating to her possible inclusion on the nominations list for a peerage, after conflicting accounts emerged of who blocked it and who was told what and when.
There is talk of a campaign from Boris Johnson and his supporters to get at Rishi Sunak. But my personal hunch is that this stand-off with Nadine Dorries could have been avoided had there been a quiet word with her at an earlier stage about a future peerage, or why she wasn’t getting one. Instead, she has been, in the view of a number of MP colleagues, a ‘humiliation’ and a ‘public dismissal’ of her that was guaranteed to upset her and lead to this kind of fight. Neither side is backing down now, meaning the Tory psychodrama has several more acts to run.