Following the revelation in yesterday’s Sunday Mirror of the curious tale concerning Tory MP for Mid-Bedfordshire (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, her landlord and business partner Andy Rayment, and a Romanian “mobile hairdresser” by the name of Ramona Ladin (are you sure that isn’t a joke name? – Ed), questions are being asked. And Ms Dorries is not taking the pressure at all well.
For starters, many have already homed in on Ms Dorries telling the Parliamentary Standards Committee “My business partners, who have nothing to do with me personally—he is just a business partner, with his wife” about Rayment, but then saying to the Mirror “Andy and Ann Rayment are two of my closest friends”. This was picked up by the serially tenacious Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads fame.
Also noting the apparent discrepancy was Unity at Ministry of Truth; both these observations have prompted Political Scrapbook to bring the apparently conflicting statements to a wider audience. Meanwhile, Ms Dorries responded to a Twitter query with “So what and who cares? Blocked for thinking my business is yours”. But, as the questioner points out, as an MP her business is also ours.
Hopefully, the promise of reporting her for apparent dishonesty will be followed through, if only to remind Ms Dorries of the gravity of the situation. Because this morning she has maintained the aura of faux outrage, responding to the Scrapbook question with “Er, no. I was speaking in the context of IPSA definition, ie personally connected = related. My friends are my business”.
Her friends may indeed be her business, but it is her public probity that is under discussion, and that is our business, thanks very much. Meanwhile, there is the question of Ramona Ladin, who claims Ms Dorries is her “best friend”, as well as maintaining the idea that she is a mobile hairdresser. Both Mirror and Mail have photos of Ms Ladin not dressed ready for, er, hairdressing.
We also have the small matter of Ms Ladin’s timeline: if she did the full NVQ in hairdressing, that’s two years. But she’s been in the UK since 2007, and that’s three times as long. And Romanians don’t get freedom of movement within the EU until next January. What has she been up to? And who has been sponsoring her unique, er, talents? Enquiries are bound to be made.
Of course, all may be legal, above board and easily explained, in which case there will be nothing to see, and we can all move along to the next news cycle event. However, and my feeling is that there is going to be a however here, if not, Andy Rayment and Nadine Dorries may find that the situation has developed not necessarily to their advantage.
And on that note, as Eric Idle might have said, I will “say no more”.