Coffee House

How do you solve a problem like Nadine Dorries?

26 November 2012

Nadine Dorries has returned to the UK today, with a meeting between the first evictee of I’m a Celebrity: Get me Out of Here! and the chief whip due soon. Will she remain suspended from the Tory party? Dorries has already rehearsed some of the arguments she presumably plans to present to Sir George Young on her Twitter feed and in an interview with Fraser at the weekend, arguing that she only missed three days when Parliament was actually sitting, and listing other MPs who have taken more time away. She expects to have the Conservative whip restored to her now she has returned.

The whips face a huge challenge in ensuring that their response to Dorries’ absence is proportionate and cannot be misinterpreted. They need to show that stepping out of line is not without consequence, as MPs are like schoolchildren in their need for clear boundaries and examples of where those boundaries lie. I argued back in September that David Cameron and the whips needed to take a leaf out of England cricket coach Andy Flower’s book in the way he dealt with Kevin Pietersen’s misbehaviour (and it was interesting to hear the reinstated KP taking care to praise the ‘united’ England team after scoring 186 runs in the early hours of Sunday morning), and there remains a need for Tory MPs to fear the force of the whips if they do misbehave.

But dealing with Nadine has its own difficulties.  The image of posh boys booting out the working-class mum is potent. Any disciplinary measures cannot be seen to be a revenge from the Prime Minister for the personal beef that he has with Nadine Dorries. She is the one who called the PM and the Chancellor ‘two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk’, and who was humiliatingly slapped down in the Chamber by Cameron, who joked that Dorries was ‘extremely frustrated’. When they suspended the Tory whip from Dorries, the whips ran the risk that the move could be interpreted as a revenge for the bad blood that exists between her and the Prime Minister. The stakes are clearly much higher this time around as they decide whether to restore the whip. The obvious solution would be to allow her constituency party to make the first move instead, which would entirely remove the Tory leadership from the equation if she is deselected.

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Show comments
  • Coffeehousewall

    Gordon Brown has only voted in 91 votes out of 648 since he lost the election. Is he more or less conscientious towards his constituents than Nadine Dorries, who has voted in 453 out of 648?


    By-election maybe?

  • HooksLaw

    Its pretty obvious that Dorries knows nothing except the price of her own publicity.

    The only reason she is back so soon is that the (Celebrity) voting public did not believe it and voted her off.

  • Rahul Kamath

    Nadine has been the big winner from all of this. Tons of publicity, attacking the PM in his soft spot, gone for only 3 days …. Her future would be better decided by her local committee who can de-select her for the next election. The PM should let this story die a quiet death.

  • Noa

    Throw her out, who needs this woman’s vote anyway?
    Where could she go? The Lib-Dems? Hardly. Labour? Not likely! UKIP?
    Oh, hang on a minute…

    • telemachus

      Yes she can take her maggots to UKIP

      • Noa

        No, she must stay where she is, Dave would miss her. After all, she’s shown she can eat balls.

  • Coffeehousewall

    Sorry, on what basis do the whips have any authority? Dorries is elected to be the representative of her constituents not a political party. She is not employed by a political party, and it is an offemce to bribe or threaten an MP.

    When will MPs stand up to the whips and insist the whole corrupt system is dismantled.

    • telemachus

      A predictable view
      Dowries was well depicted in the maggot chamber

  • Gerry Dorrian

    As you indicate, the answer to your question is for our prime-minister not to treat an elected member as if he were a public schoolboy teasing a girl from the local Comprehensive. He started this class-war, and if he has the whips carry it on for him he might rue the day he made his misogynistic comment. I wonder if UKIP might let Nadine stand?

  • RKing

    Is she related to Sally Bercow?

  • In2minds

    ” The obvious solution would be to allow her constituency party to make the first move instead” – No, localism is dead now, and old idea.

  • LB

    They are self employed. The can do what every they bloody well want to.

    Lets have a rule – retrospective, that if you miss X days without a sick note, you’re kicked out.

    That will solve the Gordon Brown problem.

    • HooksLaw

      Self Employed? How do they earn their money? Who pays them? Who pays their expenses?

  • John_Page

    How much have David Miliband or Gordon Brown been around? Get it in perspective.

  • DavidDP

    Oh, ignore her. She’s far less popular in her own constituency than the PM.

  • swatantra

    You make her stew Sir George, and put her in charge of the Commons Canteen Committee. It was only 3 days actual abscence, and no big deal.

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