Anyone compiling a list of the most fervent Leave backers among Tory MPs cannot rest until they have included (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries. The member for mid-Bedfordshire has wasted no opportunity to lay into anyone deviating from the path of true Europhobia. The problem she faces is that, as with so much else, she shows every sign of not knowing what on earth she is talking about.
The fragrant Nadine, so idolised by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog that they simperingly refer to her only by her first name, has wasted no opportunity to chide anyone she considers unworthy of attention of the subject, notably when she sniped at Ian Dunt “The Brexit ‘thing’ is the amicable solution reached via free trade negotiation. If you are right Ian, we will leave with no deal”.
Dunt, as observers of the Brexit debate will know, has dedicated a considerable amount of time to getting knowledgeable about the EU, which puts Ms Dorries’ attitude towards him in the “brave” category. Equally brave is her abrasive dismissal of other Tories, as when she sniped “Amazing, the same people who heckle, boo, abuse and intimidate #Brexit supporting MPs in the chamber, then rise another day to complain to the Speaker that people are trying to shut them down and suppress the debate” at Anna Soubry.
Ms Soubry has also made it her duty to know her subject, so telling her she should “learn a lesson” is a bit rich, as is the Dorries dismissal of Jenni Russell’s pro-EU argument with “Our membership of the EU is what has bled us of money that could have gone into skills and education. It has robbed us of our sovereignty heaping undemocratic laws upon us weekly. It has flooded our shores with unrestricted immigration putting pressure on our schools”. No EU law is passed without European Parliament approval.
And, as any fule kno, the EP is a democratically elected body, which tells you all you need to know about Ms Dorries’ deep understanding of the subject. But there was our free and fearless press, ready to give her a free pass because she was ever ready to shoot off her North and South on the subject. Until this weekend.
It was then that BuzzFeed revealed her ignorance of the subject. After she had been told that the UK could not strike its own trade deals if it were to remain in the Customs Union, she asserted “But, other countries who are members of the CU do … That’s why I asked. Do they have exceptions? This was a question in a discussion last night. I need to find out what countries are members and have free trade agreements with other countries first”.
No, no other country that is a member of the CU does. Small wonder that BuzzFeed then noted “Dorries didn't respond to requests for comment on Friday”. But there she was on Peston on Sunday (memo to ITV people: it’s not doing your credibility any favours) this morning claiming “I can almost categorically say” her hero Bozza was not behind the leaks about Gavin Williamson. Er, if they were coming from the FO, yes he was.
We know that Nadine Dorries has problems with honesty and credibility. But being prepared to denounce something without knowing what it actually means is taking things to another level entirely. It’s one step removed from “Down with this sort of thing”.
Nadine Dorries is not fit to be an MP. But everyone except the media knew that anyway.