Nadine Dorries Uses Anti-Abortion Activism to Deflect Attention from Expenses Controversies

Writing in today’s Daily Mail, Nadine Dorries MP explains the motivation for her efforts to reform crisis pregnancy counselling in the UK. She also complains of threats against her, including a cowardly email from a “former journalist” which fantasises over her burning to death in a car bomb.

Inevitably, however, this is mixed in with the claim that “pro-abortion zealots” are behind critical reporting of her expenses:

One particularly obsessive man recently followed me round with a camera, whipped up online hysteria against me and eventually had to accept a police caution for harassment.

….Pro-abortion activists deluge me with hate mail, or call on the police and public authorities to investigate me over some time-wasting, invented grievances — like whether I have a permit to hold a press conference on the green outside Parliament, or whether a certain salary payment to my staff is justified. 

Indeed, one member of my office recently left my employment because she was so fed up with this endless oppression from campaigners.

Because I am an MP, the police and other bodies have no choice but to investigate, no matter how frivolous the complaint: then the campaigners run off to their supportive friends in the Left-wing press to say that ‘Nadine Dorries is under investigation’, always declining to report a few days later that I have been cleared.

Anyone who has followed Dorries’ many abuses of the truth will find this wearily familiar.

The first paragraph refers to Tim Ireland’s presence at the Flitwick hustings in 2010, which Dorries found objectionable. Tim spoke with police under caution (not the same thing as having received a caution, which means one has been found guilty of criminal conduct), and received advice from them. He explained:

…I can say with confidence that the warning… amounts only to the officer’s duty under law to advise me of the potential consequences of being in the same room as Dorries at a further event in light of the fact that a complaint was made about the first. I can also say without fear of contradicting the police or distorting their position that it is not a judgement on my conduct at that event or in any other respect, because it is not a warning about any past behaviour, much less any pattern of behaviour. Police do not themselves regard my actions to date to be harassment or stalking, but they would not be doing their jobs if they did not advise me of the risks of being in Dorries presence once a formal complaint has been made, because it is from the moment that a second event takes place that the law might apply.

Dorries made the complaint because she wished to discourage scrutiny of her performance as an MP, not because Tim had done anything illegal or because she was fearful – this can be seen from the video of the event. It should also be noted that Dorries’ false accusation has been used by a couple of on-line thugs as an excuse to subject Tim to some real on-line harassment, in the belief that Dorries’s lies provide cover for their activities. Because I’ve expressed my opposition to this, I’ve also been targeted: writing under a fake name on Twitter, Charlie Flowers, who sees himself as some sort of vigilante, has accused me of “helping Tim Ireland stalk women” and subjected me to  months of abuse and threats.

The “salary payment” by Dorries to “staff” refers to payments of tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money made to a marketing company run by her friend Lynne Elson, including £10,000 for what appears to have been a two sheets of A4 describing Dorries’ opposition to abortion. Following Dorries’ lead, Elson complained of “intrusion” when Tim consulted public documents to research the issue. Police investigated Dorries’ £10,000 payment, but it was eventually decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed to a charge; Dorries has never attempted to justify or explain the amount paid.

Dorries’ other expenses scrape famously concerned her second home allowance. While she was claiming expenses for staying outside of her constituency, statements on her blog suggested that she was living in her constituency. She explained away the discrepancy by telling the Parliamentary Commissioner that her blog was “70 per cent fiction“, and that she pretended to be present in her constituency when she wasn’t in order to “reassure” her voters of her commitment. When this was widely mocked, she changed tack and again found solace in the “stalker” smear.

Dorries has a massive sense of entitlement as regards her expenses: such is her arrogance, she once posted a photo of her copy of the official expenses guide lying on the roof of a building after it had supposedly been blown out of her office window: “And there I think it shall stay”, she added.

There’s no reason to doubt Dorries’ claim that her attempts to reform laws around abortion go back to her experience of attending a botched abortion when she was a nurse. It’s also clear from the “email from a former journalist” that, despite crying wolf in the past, she has now come to the attention of one person who ought to be arrested. However, it’s blatantly obvious that Dorries is using her views on abortion and a real threat to obfuscate the controversy over her expenses, and abusing her current high profile to take revenge on a critic by spreading lies.

UPDATE: On her blog, Dorries writes:

Last week the Police rang after tracing the author of one of the death threats and asked me should they prosecute, I said no. I said no because I assume that people write such things and then probably regret it later.

That policy has changed from today.

This is baffling: Dorries reports Tim Ireland to the police for filming the Flitwick hustings (which Tim did with the organisers’ permission, by the way), but someone who sends a message threatening death is let off without even a caution because she “assumes” this person will “probably regret” sending such messages “later”. And the police are apparently happy to go along with this, despite the fact that this person may well be a real danger either to her or to other public figures.

Perhaps it would make sense if the person traced by the police has a documented mental health problem and is being monitored, but Dorries’ “assumption” rules that out as an explanation.

Another possibility comes to mind: that Dorries has exaggerated or lied about “death threats” (despite the reality of the threat from the mysteriously unnamed “former journalist”), and is now backpeddling.