Following yesterday’s discussion of the House of Commons Committee on Standards report into a complaint against (yes, it’s her again) Tory MP Nadine Dorries, which I examined at the time, the fragrant Nadine has attracted a significant amount of highly adverse comment. Not for the first time, she has not stood up well to the criticism. But she has no room for complaint.
However, Ms Dorries does have a penchant for creatively retelling matters after the event, as witness this Twitter gem: “Can we keep the perspective here ... the MP’s failure to register her financial interest was ‘inadvertent’ rather than deliberate”. Speaking about herself in the third person? How far will it be, I wonder, before she ventures into “We are a grandmother” territory?
But let’s cut to the fact of this one: there was precious little about her conduct that was in any way “inadvertent”: “Ms Dorries responded to the Commissioner’s requests for information with accusations that ‘your report amounts to a witch hunt’ and ‘you are choosing to use a vexatious complaint made against me to reinforce your ‘on the hoof make it up as you go’ policy’ and threats of legal action”.
There’s stuff all “inadvertent” about that. The rules are very clear: “It is each Member’s personal responsibility to register their interests. However, once I have initiated an inquiry into a Member’s conduct, it is not for that Member to decide whether he or she has broken the rules. My role in investigating complaints is to report the facts I have established and to offer my conclusion on whether the Code has been breached. It is then for the Committee, and ultimately the House, to rule on whether or not the Member has breached the Code”.
Nadine Dorries appears to have been wilfully and deliberately uncooperative, making a number of variously feeble excuses as to why she should not disclose the fact that her media earnings were going to a limited company, and the amounts involved.
She has also been gratuitously abusive towards those who have passed adverse comment in the press, such as Peter Oborne, now at the Telegraph, who brought up the word Tories dread – “sleaze”. She snapped “If Oborne looked in a mirror, before 2pm obviously, he would have a better understanding of the word ‘sleazy’”. Guess which of the two scores highest for integrity and respect (clue: not her).
Ms Dorries would do well to remember her own words before slagging off others: “Please be clear, it would be a very stupid MP who received a payment and didn’t register it with the Standards Commissioner within 30 days”. Well, she received several payments, and didn’t register them with the Standards Commissioner within 30 days, so by her own logic ... you figure it out.
Nadine Dorries has been caught bang to rights. Full stop. End of story.