Posts Tagged ‘Nadine Dorries’

How serious are the threats to David Cameron?

22/01/2013, 03:25:24 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Last weekend, the Sunday Times ran a fairly extraordinary piece speculating that the pin-striped vultures of the Tory backbenches were eyeing up David Cameron’s carcass:

“For the first time, discussions about ousting Cameron before 2015 appear to be spreading beyond the so-called “usual suspects” – a hardcore of about 20 backbenchers who are hostile to his leadership.”

Europe and gay marriage are cited as concerns. There is also talk of a “rebel reserve” of “about 55” who would write to the backbench 1922 committee chairman, Graham Brady, demanding Cameron quits if the polls look so desperate that a change of leader becomes “urgent.”

Of course it’s not unusual for prime ministers to develop a cabal of detractors. On the way up, most senior politicians rub enough people up the wrong way to do that; but to learn that Cameron now has a nucleus of twenty hostiles against him, with dozens of “conditional enemies” is still significant.

Most obviously it seems Cameron simply isn’t conservative enough for many of his party’s faith and flag crowd. While Europe remains a celice truer Conservatives choose to punish themselves with, it is Cameron’s personal advocacy of gay marriage which is said to be the focal point for much of the current grumbling; percolating up from his party’s grassroots and through to his MPs. To them, he is a typical metro-liberal wet.

On the other hand though, Cameron is a son of privilege who doesn’t really gel with those earthier, cash-toting arriviste Tories either, the ones who had to buy their own furniture. Remember when Michael Howard said he was a grammar school boy who would take no lessons from public school-educated Tony Blair? It’s not a boast many on the Tory frontbench could make now. Nevertheless representing smart, hard-working people who have made their own money is an important part of the post-war Conservative identity.


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Will the Tories welcome mad Nad back when she returns from the jungle?

07/11/2012, 06:04:38 PM

by Sophie Lambert-Russell

Almost lost in the swirl of the US election has been one of the more bizarre British political stories of recent months.

Yesterday Nadine Dorries was temporarily suspended from her role as MP for Mid Bedfordshire after it emerged she has decided to take part in the reality TV show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, apparently without consulting the Tory high command.

This decision which has been characterised by her constituency chairman Paul Duckett as “unusual” – a euphemism on a par with Sir Humphrey calling a ministerial decision “brave” – has provoked an unprecedented level of criticism among the public, journalists and MP’s across the board.

The general consensus is that Dorries has abandoned Britain in the pursuit of her own fame, and the Conservative press office has failed to come up with an alternative, as members of her own party are among the most vocal of opponents.

Chief whip Sir George Young stated that Dorries would have to “explain herself” on her return which makes David Cameron sound like a head teacher in charge of a bunch of naughty school children rather than professional MP’s, and is yet another blow for the party’s already damaged reputation.

The question is, will gentle Sir George allow her back into the party when she returns from her Australian jaunt?


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Thursday News Review

08/09/2011, 06:59:08 AM

Do we really back you Dave?

David Cameron faced embarrassment when medical leaders rejected his claim that they supported the government’s health reforms. The row came hours before the health and social care bill was approved by MPs, after Cameron hailed the profession’s support at prime minister’s questions. “Now you’ve got the Royal College of GPs, the physicians, the nurses, people working in the health service, supporting the changes we’re making,” he said. The bodies questioned the prime minister’s claim. Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, told the BBC: “While we acknowledge that the government has listened to our members in a number of areas, we still have very serious concerns about where these reforms leave a health service already facing an unprecedented financial challenge. At a time when the NHS needs to find £20bn in efficiencies, tackle waste, work harder to prevent ill-health, and deal with an ageing population, we are telling MPs this bill risks creating a new and expensive bureaucracy and fragmenting care.” Clare Gerada, chairwoman of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), said: “The college supports putting clinicians at the centre of planning health services. However, we continue to have a number of concerns about the government’s reforms, issues we believe may damage the NHS or limit the care we are able to provide for our patients.” – the Guardian

Mr Cameron told MPs during prime minister’s questions on Wednesday that the RCGP, nurses and other health professionals were supportive of the NHS reform plans. His comments came as MPs prepared for a crucial second day of debates in the House of Commons on the Health Bill, ahead of a vote that will decide whether the Bill is passed. RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada said while the college supports putting clinicians at the centre of health service planning, it continues to have a ‘number of concerns’ about the government’s reforms. ‘As a college we are extremely worried that these reforms, if implemented in their current format, will lead to an increase in damaging competition, an increase in health inequalities, and to massively increased costs in implementing this new system. These concerns have been outlined and reiterated pre- and post-pause.’ Labour leader Ed Miliband said the prime minister was on a ‘different planet’ if he believed the health profession was on board with the NHS reform plans. He said: ‘Does he not read the newspaper? Only on Tuesday the BMA, RCGP and Royal College of Midwives all rejected his Bill. We are seeing a reckless and needless reorganisation of public services.’ – GP online

Right wingers frustrated at Lib Dem influence

Simmering concern among Conservative MPs about the Coalition Government’s direction boiled over yesterday as David Cameron was accused of making too many policy concessions to the Liberal Democrats. Tory backbenchers vented their anger at Prime Minister’s Questions amid concerns that Nick Clegg has forced Mr Cameron to water down policies on Europe, free schools, tax cuts, human rights, NHS reforms, elected police commissioners and abortion. Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP who proposed an amendment to the Bill, accused Mr Cameron of giving in to Liberal Democrat “blackmail” over abortion. She told the Commons that the Prime Minister was initially “very encouraging” about her move but was then placed in an “impossible position” by the Liberal Democrats. Ms Dorries was not amused and Labour accused Mr Cameron of being patronising towards women. Angela Eagle, a Shadow Cabinet member, said: “I thought that little comment about Nadine Dorries… was really nasty, premeditated and totally uncalled for.” One Tory MP added: “The Prime Minister’s behaviour was despicable. It was the worst of the Bullingdon [Club]. It was a total demolition of Nadine Dorries on a personal basis.” – the Independent

Right-wingers took the unusual step of protesting during Prime Minister’s Questions, reflecting annoyance that private complaints to No 10 have fallen on deaf ears. Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries said: “Liberal Democrats make up 8.7 per cent of this Parliament and yet they seem to be influencing our free school policy, health, many issues and abortion. It’s about time [Mr Cameron] told the Deputy Prime Minister who is the boss.” Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, called for a referendum on Britain’s position in the EU – contrasting the Prime Minister’s refusal to give one with Mr Clegg’s success in delaying elections for police commissioners. Senior backbench sources told the Standard that leading members of the party’s 1922 Committee have been warning Mr Cameron about simmering discontent since May. – Evening Standard

Sir Stuart Bell, the laziest MP in Britain?

Veteran Middlesbrough MP Sir Stuart Bell has come under fire from his local newspaper for failing to represent constituents. The Gazette reported that they had made more than 100 calls to Sir Stuart’s Westminster office and Middlesbrough home over the course of several months but received no response. The newspaper used several different landlines and mobile numbers to disguise where the calls were coming from. In contrast the newspaper rang other Teeside MPs, who all answered on the first attempt. Sir Stuart has not held a constituency meeting since he was physically threatened by a constituent in 1997. Despite this he has been re-elected six times, holding the seat since 1983. The Gazette said that the MP had claimed to meet members of the public by appointment instead and that he can be reached at any time by telephone. “Sir Stuart is paid an annual salary of £65,738 to serve as the town’s MP, and claimed £82,896 for staffing costs last year. Wife Lady Margaret was paid more than £35,000 to work as his office manager. But no-one appears to be available to answer the phone,” the newspaper added., a website which provides a public record of MPs appearances in parliament, shows Sir Stuart to have only spoken in 11 debates over the course of the last year, well below average. He has also only voted in 41.69% of parliamentary votes, substantially below his fellow Teeside MPs who have all voted in 75% or over. –

Getting in touch with Sir Stuart is the hot political talking point on Teesside. Yesterday the 73-year-old accused the local Evening Gazette of conducting a politically motivated campaign to unseat him after it reported the results of an investigation in which reporter Neil MacFarlane tried to speak to him on 100 occasions earlier this year. Despite phoning daily – 50 times to his constituency number and a similar amount at his Westminster office – he never managed to get through. The MP, who has claimed £82,896 in staffing costs, however insisted that the report was “a total mystery” and was yesterday readily fielding calls from journalists. Last night Labour sources said Ed Miliband was treating the allegations against Sir Stuart with the “uttermost seriousness”. If they are proved, they added, the Labour whip could be withdrawn. Pressure could also be put on Sir Stuart’s local party to deselect him. The latest allegations come after it emerged Sir Stuart had not held a surgery in Middlesbrough for 14 years and does not have a publicly accessible office in the town. – the Independent

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Thursday News Review

01/09/2011, 05:59:16 AM

Kick in the teeth for our best and bravest

Almost 500 RAF personnel will be told on Thursday that they are to be forced out of their jobs when the Ministry of Defence sets out the first details of its controversial redundancy programme aimed at reshaping Britain’s armed forces. The Gurkhas have also been hit hard, with infantrymen from the historic Nepalese brigade making up most of those in the army who will be told that they have been selected for compulsory redundancy. The announcement is likely to reopen bitter arguments about cuts to the defence budget that are being pushed through even though the UK is committed to fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan and has been asked to play a lead role in Libya. It will also spur on those who have demanded the government reconsiders the main conclusions of last year’s strategic defence and security review (SDSR) – calls that the defence secretary, Liam Fox, has dismissed outright. – the Guardian

Gurkhas will be among the first members of the British army to be made redundant as part of cuts to the defence budget. There will be 260 complusory redundancies in the army and among them will be 140 members of the 3,500 strong Brigade of Gurkhas. About 920 soldiers and 930 RAF personnel will be told they are being made redundant, 750 of them against their will. The cuts are being implemented to the Gurkha regiment after a change to their terms of service which put them on the same footing as the rest of the army. The Ministry of Defence, however, says he expects some of the Gurkhas facing redundancy to transfer to other regiments who are below strength. Those serving with the RAF on the front line in Libya and Afghanistan will be exempt from the cuts, however ground support and operational staff are at risk. – Sky News

Ed calls for quivker G20 action

The G20 group of leading world economies are due to meet in France in early November but Mr Miliband says it is clear the economic recovery has “stalled” and more prompt action is needed. Writing in the FT, Mr Miliband said the prime minister should press French President Nicolas Sarkozy for an earlier meeting when they hold talks at a Anglo-Frech summit on Libya on Thursday. As it currently holds the G20 presidency, France determines when meetings take place. In recent weeks, there have been a succession of warnings from key figures that the world economy is fragile and much more co-ordinated action is required to prevent a repeat of the 2009 global slowdown triggered by the banking crisis. But although IMF head Christine Lagarde said immediate action was required to boost economic growth, US central bank head Ben Bernanke signalled no immediate steps to stimulate demand. – BBC News

David Cameron is “standing on the sidelines” instead of tackling the latest wave of global economic turmoil, Ed Miliband has said. The Labour leader called on the Prime Minister to press for an early meeting of the G20 group of wealthy nations to address the crisis. He challenged the assertion made by Chancellor George Osborne that the UK was a “safe haven”, claiming it was “naive” to believe the UK was immune from the problems.” Mr Miliband said he was concerned by reports that splits within the Government and pressure from the banks could delay reform of the financial sector. “Neither should be used as an excuse for failing to deliver the change we need,” he said. In a bleak assessment of the global economy, Mr Miliband said the recovery which appeared to be taking hold a year ago “has now stalled”. – Press Association

Common sense at last

The Prime Minister and Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, will vote against the proposals put forward by pro-life groups and campaigning MPs, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Their opposition follows claims that ministers were preparing to change long-established rules on advice given to pregnant women. The matter will still be debated in the Commons, but No?10 made it clear for the first time that Mr Cameron would vote against the amendments to the Health Bill tabled by Nadine Dorries, a backbench Tory MP. Downing Street sources said that the proposed amendments would “exclude proper choice”. It is understood that senior Liberal Democrats including Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, were angry at suggestions that the Department of Health was prepared to back the changes which would introduce a mandatory obligation on abortion clinics to offer women access to independent counselling, to be run on separate premises by a group which does not itself carry out abortions. – Daily Telegraph

Cameron’s ‘real’ U-turn

David Cameron was forced to make yet another hasty retreat yesterday – fortunately for the country, he was only reversing a Mini. The Prime Minister was behind the wheel of the 2,000,000th new-look Mini off the production line at a plant in Cowley, Oxford. He was meant to steer the silver motor on to the assembly area floor. But true to form, the MP for nearby Witney overshot his mark and was forced to back-track and try again. Mr Cameron told workers: “Minis have been a fantastic success story, not just for Oxford but for the UK. For me personally, it’s a bit of a thrill because I don’t get to drive any more, even though it was only 20 yards.” – Daily Mirror

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