Nadine Dorries Made Complaint to Police because Critical Blogger Appeared at Public Debate

A week ago I blogged on the results of Tim Ireland’s Freedom of Information requests to Bedfordshire Police and the London Met. As Tim explained:

…I made FOI/DPA request to both forces so I might see what they had on file about me. Last year, I blogged about the response from the London Met, who showed NO record of ANY complaint/report against me.

The result from Bedfordshire police is in… and they too show NO record of ANY complaint/report against me.

As has been previously blogged, the MP Nadine Dorries had claimed that she had made complaints about Tim to the police, although she declined to go provide reference numbers or other specific details. The background is that Dorries objects to Tim’s critical blogposts about about her public activities, and she has made the allegation that Tim is a “stalker” in an attempt to deflect scrutiny. Despite the fact that Tim has never impinged upon Dorries’ private life any way that could be described as stalking, the allegation has proved a useful taunt for some other opponents, ranging from certain Conservative-aligned bloggers through to unhinged cyber-bullies who get off on real harassment (one of whom Dorries has endorsed on her blog and apparently attempted to contact).

Tim made an update a couple of days after his original post:

It turns out there is, at present, a police investigation. Police had not contacted me about it until yesterday (19 Jan 2011). It relates specifically to the hustings event at Flitwick. There is no crime reference number for this as yet, because there is no crime. I was perfectly happy to speak with police and answer their questions (and I still am), but there is very little I can share publicly about it at this stage, and police didn’t raise anything that I haven’t already published/addressed (as text or video), so you’re not missing much.

Obviously, this revelation does not change or undermine the central thrust of this post or the vast majority of what I specifically assert in it. If it had, significant changes would have been made to the headline and body of this post to reflect this. For now, this update will suffice, as nothing has changed about the following:

Dorries made her accusation about there being an investigation in progress at a time when no relevant police force can confirm her ever having made a complaint. I still intend to hold her to account for that, as you should.

This has now been picked up by Dorries’ local paper, Bedfordshire on Sunday:

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said: “Officers from Bedfordshire police are currently looking into a complaint of stalking/harassment in May 2010.

“Officers are in the process of talking to both parties involved to determine whether any actual offences of harassment or stalking have been committed and if any further action needs to be taken.

“Inquiries are currently ongoing.”

The video below shows the event at which Dorries is claiming that a crime of harassment took place – no reasonable person could regard Tim’s behaviour as threatening or disruptive. Further background is provided here.

Dorries’ sense of entitlement is legendary – for instance, her response to a new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority guide to expenses was a mocking post on her blog with a photo showing how her copy of the document had supposedly been blown out of her office by a gust of wind (according to last week’s Sunday Times, a file on Dorries’ expenses was recently passed by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service). It is possible she sincerely believes that a persistent critic of her political activities ought to be restrained and suppressed by the police as a matter of principle. But surely even her most partisan hacks must baulk at defending such an obvious abuse of the law?

This is not the first time that the police have been obliged to follow up a meritless complaint against a blogger – in 2008 the journalist Oliver Kamm was contacted by the police after Neil Clark objected to Kamm’s scathing criticisms of Clark’s work on his blog.