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.