Having won back the Tory whip, Mid Bedfordshire’s MP (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries is now excelling in wiping the party’s face in the nasty brown sticky stuff. First came her endorsement of London’s occasional Mayor and specialist blower of other people’s money Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and now has come the suggestion that she is prepared to pile off and leave her constituency once more.
The fragrant Nadine had the whip removed after going off to Oz to take part in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. So it’s not as if she doesn’t know what something similar would mean for her. But this has not stopped her from declaring that she would rather like to be considered as a future contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, treading in the footsteps of Ann Widdecombe and Edwina Currie.
Except, of course, that Widders had retired from politics – after 23 years in the Commons – before subjecting herself to the rigours of training with Anton du Beke and the weekly scrutiny of judges and viewers. So that leaves the prospect of one of two scenarios being played out, neither of which would have Ms Dorries as an MP of any stripe after the next General Election.
If she gets her Strictly wish before the election, and goes off to do the show – which would inevitably mean taking time off from her Parliamentary duties – then the Tories are back where they were before George Young gave in to all the special pleading and she got the whip back. A second offence would mean permanent expulsion from the Tory Party, with pressure to resign her seat following in short order.
This, of course, would be a nightmare scenario for former local chairman Andy Rayment, who, along with his wife, holds the deeds for the house that Ms Dorries and her daughters live in. The prospect of a sitting tenant with zero utility to the constituency association, and perhaps an irregular income stream, is not one he will be relishing. So it will be interesting to see how he reacts to such a move.
The other scenario is that Ms Dorries has made her mind up to leave the Commons in a more or less orderly manner in 2015, which for local Tories is preferable, although they would rather have an MP in whom they can have some confidence that her mind is applied rather more to continuity and loyalty, rather than giving her electorate the impression that it’s all about Herself Personally Now.
And all of this is before considering the IPSA investigation into her travel costs and London flat – and the complaint made recently about her fee from I’m A Celebrity somehow not yet having been disclosed. As I’ve said recently, the Tory Party does not need to allow Nadine Dorries to be a problem for them. The longer they leave it – perhaps partly at Rayment’s request – the worse for them the dénouement will be.
So, Tory people, you need to ask yourselves a question. Do you feel lucky?