09 February 2023

Nadine Dorries: I’m A Celebrity star and Boris Johnson loyalist

09 February 2023

Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries said she will stand down as MP for Mid Bedfordshire at the next general election.

Ms Dorries, who has been an MP since 2005, criticised “the lack of cohesion” and “the sheer stupidity” of MPs who “got rid of Boris Johnson” as she announced her departure from Parliament on an episode of her TalkTV show, which is due to air on Friday evening.

In a clip previewing her announcement, the Tory MP and Johnson loyalist said: “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.”

The staunch supporter of Mr Johnson said the ex-PM urged her to stay, adding: “He doesn’t want me to go… he said, ‘Nads stay’.”

It was rumoured that Ms Dorries would receive a peerage as part of Mr Johnson’s resignation honours list, but she said she had not heard anything about it.

In the trailer for her show, Ms Dorries became emotional as she said “I’m just getting through the emotional aspect of leaving a job I loved for 19 years”.

Ms Dorries was born in 1957 in Liverpool and grew up on a council estate, which she writes about on her official website, saying: “I learnt to communicate with people from all walks of life.”

She started her working life as a nurse before pursuing a career in business, opening a child daycare business before becoming a director at Bupa.

Her career as a writer has seen her author more than 10 books, among them The Four Streets Quartet novels, as well as The Angels series about the nurses of Lovely Lane.

Before her election to Parliament as MP for Mid Bedfordshire in 2005, she worked for three years as an adviser to the former shadow home secretary and shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin.

Ms Dorries was thrust into the limelight in 2012 when she was suspended from the Conservative Party for appearing on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! without informing the chief whip first.

However, she was readmitted to the party in May 2013.

Her first ministerial appointment was as minister of state for patient safety, suicide prevention and mental health, during which she garnered criticism for rejecting cross-party talks to discuss a package of mental health support for frontline workers during the pandemic.

In September 2021, Ms Dorries was promoted to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. In her time in the role she was a frequent advocate for BBC reform, and led the now-ditched plan to privatise Channel 4.

Despite backing Liz Truss in the race for leadership following Mr Johnson’s resignation, Ms Dorries decided not to continue as culture secretary when Ms Truss took over as prime minister.

Ms Dorries has been embroiled in a string of controversies throughout her tenure as an MP.

In 2009, when MPs’ expenses claims were revealed by the Daily Telegraph, she admitted she had got taxpayers to foot the bill for a lost £2,190 deposit on a rented flat.

And in 2010, she was rebuked by parliamentary standards commissioner John Lyon for misleading her constituents on her blog about how much time she spent in mid-Bedfordshire, admitting that it was “70% fiction”.

The mother to three daughters has also frequently been at odds with what she thought of as her party’s image, memorably referring to David Cameron and George Osborne as “arrogant posh boys”, while describing herself as “a normal mother who comes from a poor background and who didn’t go to a posh school”.

Having sold more than 2.5 million copies of her books, the 65-year-old’s departure from politics is expected to enable her to return to writing.

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