Following the decision of Bedfordshire On Sunday to stop being quite so fawning towards Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, and the picking up of the story by first the Maily Telegraph and then the Daily Mail, the fightback has begun. Sadly, though, this appears to have fallen flat amidst more attempts at projection and even a whiff of paranoia.
Youse camera is stalking me again!
Ms Dorries’ daughter Philippa has reacted angrily to the revelation that she is being paid as her mother’s office manager while also a law student, telling the HuffPost UK “The allegations that I am paid £39,000 a year whilst at ‘university’ is completely untrue, libellous and defamatory” which would be a sound defence except that nobody has suggested either that figure, or that it was earned dishonestly.
The salary band for her post – which does not appear to have been advertised beforehand – is “up to £39,999”. She works pro-rata, and her mother has already Tweeted “I love the words ‘up to’ in the press today. They wouldn’t write ‘half of’ would they”. As the “up to” number was £39,999, that’s as near as dammit an admission that Philippa Dorries is getting around £20,000.
OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY
And, if the higher figure is “completely untrue, libellous and defamatory”, then why is the Dorries family not taking the deeply unsavoury Richard Kay of the Mail to the cleaners over his headline “Now Dorries' student daughter is dating MP whose father's millions will go nicely with her £40,000 salary from Mum”? Kay claims there are reports that this figure is being paid, which there have not.
Perhaps that is because a siege mentality appears to be taking over in the Dorries camp. As one Tweeter pointed out to her “I would suggest this could be your punishment for daring to belittle Cameron and Osborne” she replied “‘sources’ say you are right, but I couldn’t possibly comment”. But a little thought applied to the origin of the story shows that this is most unlikely.
They're not coming to get her
It’s true that the Maily Telegraph has a seriously sceptical approach to Nadine Dorries, and that it has published a range of copy critical of her in the past. The paper is also a reliable conduit for Tory propaganda. But the story originated in her own local Sunday paper, not the Tel. The idea that the PM and Chancellor would have them fed that on the off chance of publication is ludicrous.
So what of Ms Dorries’ “sources”? That may just be another of those who tells her what she wants to hear, like that she’s one whinge away from seeing off Commons Speaker John Bercow. The reality is that Nadine Dorries is clutching at straws: the employment of relatives who are also students inevitably arouses suspicion in the wake of the Derek Conway business. That is all.
And she’s not paranoid, as nobody is out to get her. Or are they?