Nadine Dorries Sends “Warning” to Tim Ireland over Charity Query

Following Nadine Dorries’ recent House of Commons adjournment debate on abortion, there has been a certain amount of interest in “Forsaken: Taunton”, a supposedly “neutral” charity which offers post-abortion counselling to women and which was cited Dorries in her speech. Forsaken is less than transparent: its template “About Us” page is mostly marked “TBA”. I did some Googling around yesterday and found a link to a local Charismatic church involved in pro-life activism, but I was also also keen to stress that the people behind it appear to be sensitive and compassionate.

However, questions have also arisen about the group’s status as a charity, as it describes itself on the site and as Dorries introduced it in the House of Commons. In the UK, the word “charity” is suggestive of what Americans call a “501(c)” – an organisation that has to work within certain guidelines and be open to public scrutiny. That popular understanding is not quite correct, apparently; according to the Charity Commission:

???????A small charitable organisation with an income that does not exceed £5000 can enjoy the benefits of charitable status without having to meet the regulatory requirements of registered charities.

The bar was raised from £1000 in 2007, and Forsaken has responded to queries by explaining that this is why it does not appear on the register. So,  a reasonable query, and a reasonable explanation.

Nadine Dorries, however, is currently attempting to dampen down any further interest by playing her ever-favourite “stalker” card, in a remarkable posted headlined “Tim Ireland, You Have Been Warned“:

…The sharks are already circling.

…Already, Forsaken have had the infamous Bloggerheads, Tim Ireland, on the phone this morning. Probing, asking questions about their status, amking the usual inappropriate comments etc. Usual Tim Ireland, agressive ‘I have a right to know all about you’ style.

I am an elected member Tim. You harass me on an almost daily basis, including my staff and my Chairman. I am expected, even though you aren’t one of my constituents, to take it. I am expected to tolerate your inappropriate level of intense attention, as were the MPs you harassed before me.

Members of the public are not.

If you put into place your usual method of operation of continuous telephone calls, blogging, blitz emailing thousands of ranting words etc to people going about their daily business, I am sure the Police may take a strong view.

You have been warned. I will not tolerate anyone else being subjected to your intense, inappropriate, abusive behaviour, simply because they have some, even the most distant, association to me.

However, as Tim explains on his blog today:

I contacted Forsaken (by email only) to make enquiries about their status as a charity, and included a follow up question about how long they’d been operating under the income threshold that stops them from having to register as one. I have now dared to send a third email asking them to confirm that I have not called them, and I will let you know if they get back to me.

As Tim also notes, her complaint that she is “expected to tolerate your inappropriate level of intense attention” reveals a lot about her supposed complaints to the police. It seems likely that some months ago she did ask for some informal and general advice about stalkers, which she then deliberately misrepresented on her “70 per cent fiction” blog and to the press as specific advice given to her about Tim.

Despite her claim that Tim is under investigation, he has never been contacted by the police, and she has been unable to provide the reference numbers which anyone who makes a formal complaint to the police are given. One excuse she has given – after a lot of pushing – is that the “House of Commons Police” do not give reference numbers, and from a recent Tweet here we can infer that she has tried to get a backdated number from the police in her constituency. I am inclined to think that this attempt failed, and that whoever she spoke to informed her that she is indeed “expected to tolerate” public interest in her public activities.

Given that Tim has – now by her own admission – done nothing that she is not “expected to tolerate”, she has no business continuing to pretend that she regards him as some sort of threat to her person (an unconvincing charade anyway). And attempting to use or manipulate “Forsaken” to continue her smear campaign by proxy is probably something the organisation could have done without.

If anyone is interested in what actual stalking looks like, a comment I received last night from an anonymous coward here may be a good example.

10 Responses

  1. It’s the Transatlanticist link.

    They rant on about freedom but it’s the kind of freedom that authoritarians always like to say they care about.

    What worries me is how deep this “freedom” has sunk its poisonous fangs into our political class.

    Here, for example, is a list of the MPs who have secretaries and research assistants from christian organisations.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmsecret/100809/memi05.htm

    Stephanie ARCHER Tim Farron (Lib Dem) Benefit: Bursary/ scholarship received from CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) a registered charity, as an intern on their graduate training scheme.

    Elizabeth BERRIDGE David Burrowes (Con) Executive Director, Conservative Christian Fellowship (bridge between the Christian community and the Conservative Party).

    Zoe DIXON Chris Huhne (Lib Dem) Employed by the Liberal Democrat party as Director of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum.

    Miriam FURZE Sir Alan Beith (Lib Dem) Benefit: Bursary/ scholarship received from CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) a registered charity, as an intern on their graduate training scheme.

    David LANDRUM Jim Dobbin (Lab /Co-op) Senior Parliamentary Officer for the Bible Society (a charity).

    Christopher LE MARQUAND Sharon Hodgson (Lab) Benefit: Bursary/ scholarship received from CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) a registered charity, as an intern on their graduate training scheme.

    Elizabeth LONGSTAFF James Paice (Con) Benefit: Bursary/ scholarship received from CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) a registered charity, as an intern on their graduate training scheme.

    Heather MCCORMICK Alistair Burt (Con) Benefit: Bursary/ scholarship received from CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) a registered charity, as an intern on their graduate training scheme.

    Feargal MCGUINESS Steve Webb (Lib Dem) Gift/Benefit: Parliamentary internship funded by the Catholic Trust for England and Wales.

    William REDFERN Chris Evans (Lab / Co-op) Gift/Benefit: Parliamentary internship funded by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

    Peter STODDART Mark Durkan (SDLP) Gift/Benefit: Parliamentary internship funded by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

    Melanie WARD David Blunkett (Lab) Senior UK Political Adviser, Christian Aid (international development charity).

    Wilfred WONG Russell (Lab) Brown Director of Stephen’s Children (humanitarian aid organisation which assists poor Christian children and their families in Egypt).

    Tim Montgomerie Brian BINLEY (Con) Web Editor, Conservative Intelligence (subscription and briefing service).

    NB “Montgomerie and David Burrowes (now an MP) jointly started the Conservative Christian Fellowship in 1990 while students at the University of Exeter, supported by the Christian Coalition of America”

    Christianity has a bigger foot in the door of our parliament than any other single interest group.

  2. There is no ‘House of Commons Police’ as such. The police who are on duty in the Palace of Westminster are part of the Metropolitan Police force; if someone in the Palace of Westminster reports a crime to them which took place outside it, then it would be given a Met Police crime reference number.

  3. Chrisitan Aid isn’t a fundamentalist/evangelical organisation – read their About Us section – most fundies wouldn’t touch it.
    And is the CARE in that list actually care.org.uk or CARE International? The distinction is important, as the latter is an entirely non-religious charity (originally called Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe).

  4. Hi Sophia,

    It’s not whether any particular group is evangelical or fundamentalist, as you put it – they are just the hard end of the spectrum – but remember, soft power is frequently just as effective at achieving aims, if not more so. Softly softly catchee monkey …

    At care.org they are obviously keen to show how mainstream and ‘normal’ they are:

    “CARE is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives.”

    I’m astonished, and disturbed by how very complacent people are about the strong religious influence over our decision-makers.

  5. […] who uses accusations of “harassment” to deflect any scrutiny – predictably threatened Tim with the police for “abusive behaviour “ after he contacted the organisation to […]

  6. […] is quite obvious that any attempt to have done so would have been spun as evidence of harassment; when in November Tim asked an anti-abortion group which Dorries had endorsed to clarify its charitable status, […]

  7. […] Tim looked into Forsaken a few months ago, Dorries threatened to have him arrested for daring to do so, but he has  nevertheless persevered with Right to Know: […]

  8. […] also threatened Tim with the police after he sought to establish details concerning an anti-abortion organisation which she had promoted in […]

  9. […] I have blogged on the background to this myself here. […]

  10. […] More serious, however, has been her use of false accusations of stalking, including making complaints to the police, to discourage investigations of her expenses and of the veracity of her various statements. […]

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