Nadine dorries

Do accents still matter in politics?

14 min listen

The new MP for Kingswood has been under fire for apparently changing his accent over the course of his political career. Does this matter? And if so, what does this tell us about British politics today? Cindy Yu talks to James Heale and author and former cabinet minister, Nadine Dorries. Produced by Cindy Yu and Patrick Gibbons.

The Tories need a shake-up – and Sunak knows it

When prime ministers sense the end is near, they tend to follow a similar pattern. They change senior civil servants and appointees, as Boris Johnson and Gordon Brown did. They avoid consulting their cabinet and instead hide behind special advisers. They declare they don’t like polls, before saying that the only poll that matters is the election. But before all of this, they usually attempt a ‘reset’. It’s rarely a sign of rejuvenation, but rather the start of the embalming process. Rishi Sunak is aware of this, which is why there’s no use of the word in No. 10 as politics prepares to resume. He has so far resisted calls

Portrait of the week: Dorries finally quits, Braverman cracks down on crime and Prigozhin is confirmed dead

Home Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, told police that they must investigate every theft and follow all reasonable leads to catch criminals; the Police Federation of England and Wales said forces were already ‘stretched beyond human limits’. Home Office figures showed that only 3.9 per cent of residential burglaries resulted in someone being charged, and for thefts from the person it was 0.9 per cent. Hartwig Fischer resigned as the director of the British Museum and Jonathan Williams stepped aside as his deputy when it became clear that information about 1,500 or so missing objects had been wrongly dismissed; police continued investigations. Two men were arrested on suspicion of arson

Nadine’s revenge

13 min listen

Having said she’ll step down, Nadine Dorries has now said that she won’t formally resign as an MP until later this year… It’s hard to see this as anything other than revenge taken on Rishi Sunak, so as to prolong the by-election pain, Katy Balls says. Cindy Yu also talks to Kate Andrews about the economic pain in the country at the moment – from lacklustre GDP growth to rising mortgage rates. Produced by Cindy Yu.

Now Nadine goes for Truss

It’s day one at Tory conference and already tensions are running high. Conservative MPs are coming out to attack Liz Truss’s 45p tax cut, angry activists are muttering about mutiny and the markets are braced for more turmoil tomorrow. So who better than Nadine Dorries to calm the situation? Now relieved of her Cabinet post, the former Culture Secretary has time on her hands and she’s certainly putting that to good use. Alongside an anguished Sunday Times interview today – in which Dorries bemoans the loss of Boris as ‘one of the world’s great leaders’ – the pugilistic parliamentarian has now taken to Twitter to turn her guns on Johnson’s

Will Nadine be censored under her own law?

Steerpike’s favourite cabinet minister is at it again. In her vindictive rage to try to avenge Boris Johnson, Nadine Dorries has turned the full force of her rage against Rishi Sunak. She’s accused him of leading a ‘ruthless coup’ against the Prime Minister, being the ‘chatty rat’ behind the lockdown leak, of ‘not working hard’, practicing ‘dark arts’ and, er, wearing an expensive pair of shoes. Now, the Culture Secretary has even taken to retweeting memes of Sunak mocked up as Brutus, brandishing a knife behind Johnson as Britain’s Caesar. The image predictably sparked a backlash, with fellow Tory MP Simon Hoare sharing a post which said that ‘no MP

Nadine Dorries goes for Sunak (again)

It’s getting a bit dirty in the Tory leadership race now. Over the weekend, briefings heated up between the Sunak and Truss camps. Both accused each other of being ‘soft’ on China; the former’s introduction of free ports has been attacked by the latter while Sunak’s schooling has also come under fire from allies of the Foreign Secretary. Good luck to whoever has to unite this party after 5 September… In these troubled times, it would take a master diplomat to try to hold the fraying Tory ties together. So cometh the hour, cometh the Culture Secretary, to pour oil on troubled waters. Nadine Dorries has been something of a

Sleepwalking into censorship: a reply to Nadine Dorries

In this week’s magazine I look at the threats posed by the so-called Online Safety Bill now making its way through the House of Commons. It gives sweeping censorship powers by creating a new category of speech that must be censored: ‘legal but harmful’. The government will ask social media companies to do the censoring – and threaten them if they do not. The idea is for the UK to fine them up to 10 per cent of global revenue (ie: billions) if they publish ‘harmful’ content – but harmful is not really defined. So censorship potential is wide open. Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, has suggested that the jokes of the

Katy Balls

Nadine Dorries: My vision for the BBC

When Nadine Dorries was named Culture Secretary last year, it proved to be the most controversial appointment of Boris Johnson’s reshuffle. Her critics weren’t afraid to point to what they saw as her flaws. She was a Scouser and former nurse put in charge of the cultural crown jewels. The only explanation they could come up with: she was intended to embody a two-finger flick, on behalf of the PM, to the BBC, Channel 4 and the arts world in general. The furore, she says, didn’t come as a surprise. ‘There are some men who do have a problem with a woman from my background achieving,’ she says. It also

Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning art scene

A little more than a century ago, a charismatic British army captain called T.E. Lawrence and fearsome Bedouin warriors swept through the sublime canyons around the desert city of Al-’Ula where I stroll today. They blew up the Hejaz railway, built to transport hajjis from Damascus towards Mecca but repurposed during the first world war by Turks to ferry munitions and troops. Such was the 1916-18 Arab Revolt that threw off Arabia’s Ottoman yoke. Today a very different kind of Arab uprising is sweeping through Al-’Ula. The canyons resonate not with bombs but with art. Dubai-based Zeinab Alhashemi has constructed boulders made from camel hides for a piece called ‘Camouflage

The snobbish attacks on Nadine Dorries

I see the establishment has a new sport: mocking Nadine Dorries. They really do hate her. Or rather, they love taking the mick out of her. She looks drunk! She only has one book on her shelf! She gives car-crash interviews! She wouldn’t know culture if it bit her on the behind! You don’t need a PhD in class studies to work out what’s motoring this frenzied Nadine-bashing: classic, old-fashioned snobbery. You know a political trend has taken off when it finds its way even on to Instagram, the only social media I use. When even this normally peaceful virtual world of cats and selfies is invaded by political memes,

Why we still need the BBC

My first posting as a BBC foreign correspondent was Belgrade in the mid-1990s. Serbia was led by Slobodan Milosevic, practically the only Communist ruler in eastern Europe not to have been overthrown. He survived by reinventing himself as a nationalist, though he kept the Communists’ secret police. Our secretary was accosted one day by a couple of them, nasty-looking thugs in black leather jackets. ‘State Security,’ said one, pushing her into a doorway. They wanted her to inform on me. If she didn’t, they would see to it that her elderly father stopped getting his pension. She told them to get lost, a brave thing to do. To Serbian State

Nadine battles the BBC

It seems that the fruits of high office haven’t changed Nadine Dorries. The Culture Secretary, who took up her brief eight weeks ago, last night hit out at Laura Kuenssberg on Twitter after the BBC’s political editor reported receiving a text from a Tory MP at the 1922 committee which said Boris Johnson ‘looked weak and sounded weak’ and that his ‘authority is evaporating.’ Dorries responded angrily, declaring: Laura, I very much like and respect you, but we both know, that text is ridiculous, although nowhere near as ridiculous as the person – obviously totally desperate for your attention – who sent it. Shortly thereafter the tweet was deleted but not before numerous screenshots

Culture Secretary joins the culture wars

After six hours of speculation, most in SW1 seem ready to re-shuffle off their mortal coil. As the hacks and hangers-on picks over who’s up and who’s down, attention has focused on the newly-appointed Culture Secretary. Former nurse and part-time novelist Nadine Dorries succeeds Oliver Dowden in the post, having served two years in the health department in which capacity she made headlines for being the first MP to test positive for Covid. Dorries is an interesting choice for the role sometimes known as the ‘Minister for fun.’ Elected in 2005 she is considered to be on the right of the party: a proto-Brexiteer who advocated sexual abstinence for girls in

What Nadine Dorries’ coronavirus diagnosis means for parliament

Westminster is abuzz this morning not with anticipation for Rishi Sunak’s first Budget but over the news that Nadine Dorries has become the first UK politician to contract the coronavirus. The health minister began to feel unwell at the end of last week before showing symptoms relating to the coronavirus – dry cough, high fever and chest pains – at the weekend. She has since tested positive for the disease and self-isolated. However, before doing so, Dorries was in contact with hundreds of people including fellow politicians at a No. 10 reception the Prime Minister hosted on Thursday, health officials and constituents in a surgery on Saturday. While Dorries believes

Losing the plot | 1 November 2018

How to explain Theresa May’s resilience? As Prime Minister, she has survived mishaps and calamities that would have finished off her predecessors. She has no shortage of rebels keen to succeed or denounce her, but all seem oddly unable to act. Why? The answer might lie in a group messaging service which seems to have disabled the ancient art of the Tory coup: WhatsApp. Tory backbenchers are so addicted to this app that these days they cannot tear themselves away from their screens. It gives them the impression of being plugged into each other’s lives, when the opposite is true. Where MPs would once have met to scheme and gossip,

Blue on Blue: Nadine Dorries attacks Anna Soubry – ‘they’ve lost the plot’

Oh dear. As No 10 attempt to stop more Commons rebellions today on the customs bill, relations between Tory Remain rebels and Tory Brexiteers have hit an all-time low – and that’s saying something. Appearing on the Daily Politics, Nadine Dorries launched a broadside against Anna Soubry over her comments in the Chamber on Monday – when the Tory MP accused her Brexiteer colleagues with a ‘gold-plated pension and inherited wealth’ of backing Brexit to the detriment of people’s jobs. One such Brexiteer colleague’s response? Dorries just described it as ‘one of the worst moments that we have ever seen or witnessed in the chamber’. “No longer anger, they have

Sunday shows round-up: Diane Abbott sounds public sector alarm

Diane Abbott – Public sector at risk if migration collapses The Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has told Andrew Marr that British businesses and essential services such as the NHS require a certain level of migration from Europe after Brexit and that a ‘collapse’ in numbers could pose a serious risk to the UK economy. Abbott claimed that a Labour government would clamp down on bureaucracy with regard to EU migration and that she would implement ‘fair rules’ and ‘reasonable management’: AM: Do you think that the number of people coming here from the EU will go down after Brexit if you’re in power? DA: You should talk to British

Angela Eagle on the Westminster patriarchy: ‘they manoeuvre like mad and they trade favours’

When Jeremy Corbyn conducted his first Shadow Cabinet reshuffle, the Labour leader was criticised for appointing John McDonnell as Shadow Chancellor over Angela Eagle. Given that this meant the three ‘top jobs’ went to men, Corbyn faced cries of sexism. Now in a talk on the patriarchy at the How The Light Gets In festival in Hay-on-Wye, Eagle has shed some light on why it is men are often picked for the top jobs overs members of the fairer sex. Eagle claims that men operate in a different manner to women and ‘manoeuvre like mad’: ‘Men organise in peer groups. I won’t say gangs, because that would be wrong. Maybe tribes. They manoeuvre

Don’t sneer at I’m a Celebrity. The show is teaching us to become model citizens

One of the great benefits of having teenage children is that they force you out of your fuddy-duddy comfort zone. There was no way, for example, that the Fawn and I were ever going voluntarily to watch I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! because we’re snobby old farts who only like history documentaries and University Challenge. But Girl decreed otherwise. That’s why, unlike many of you, but like most of the nation, I am now able to comment knowledgably on how well Michael Buerk is doing, who Tinchy Stryder is, why it was a sensible idea to choose world superbike champion Carl Fogarty to undertake the first bushtucker