Nadine Dorries, Tim Ireland and the High Court: Some Notes on the Outcome

While the many lies of Nadine Dorries have been travelling half-way around the world in recent months, the truth has been tripping over its shoelaces; from the Independent:

An attempt to unseat the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has been thrown out by the High Court after two judges ruled that legal documents informing her of the action were sent to the wrong address.

…Gavin Millar QC, acting for Ms Dorries, told the court that Mr Ireland’s solicitors had been labouring under the “misapprehension” that the election petition could be served on a place of work. “It seems to us that a straightforward error was made by the petitioner’s solicitor,” he said.

This error means that the court will not test the details of how Dorries conducted a thoroughly reprehensible smear campaign against my friend Tim Ireland, who stood against her as in Independent candidate in May’s election. Dorries made a series of reckless and false allegations that ran a gamut from religious persecution of Roman Catholics to financial impropriety and computer hacking, along with grotesque insinuations of a sexual nature, and, of course, the all-purpose “stalker” smear that she trots out against anyone who dares to draw attention to or challenge the appalling behaviour of this most sorry excuse for a public servant.

The ruling is also a gift to various individuals whose dishonest and/or unethical behaviours have been brought to light by Tim over the years. Several of these individuals worked with Dorries to formulate and promote her smears, and one of them (at his own initiative, it appears) posted a website (since deleted) threatening him with a harassment campaign unless he desisted from bringing the petition. This particular individual has in the past been spoken to by police over his actions towards Tim (this was in 2009, when he created a malicious document that included a description of Tim’s then-home address. It was created for the purpose of harassment, and police traced it back to him), and his sporadic abuse since has also included paedo-smears. It really is a scandalous association for a Member of Parliament.

Dorries’ junior counsel, Greg Callus, has written an account of the legal argument that led to the dismissal; it includes the detail that

Mr Ireland’s solicitors sent the petition by first-class post to the office of her constituency Conservative Association on 4 June 2015. However, because candidates for election are individuals (not acting ‘in a course of a business’) they must ordinarily be served either in-person, or at their usual or last-known residence, unless they nominate a place or person or electronic means by which they will accept service.

It was successfully argued that more effort should have been made to find Dorries’ home address, which is a nice irony given that there is strong reason to assume that Dorries would regard such an enquiry as evidence of stalking. It should be noted that although Dorries has a residence in mid-Bedfordshire, it is not self-evident that this is her main home: she told a reporter she had “fled” from this address soon after Tim moved into the constituency (although he had not moved “into her road”, which was one lie that appeared in the Sunday Telegraph in September, or even into the same village; and his move was for perfectly valid personal reasons), and she has also been reported as living in Surrey with her partner. Dorries also gave her office as her official address on election materials; and in her role as a company director, she has specified that her service address is a virtual office in London rather than her home.

Dorries insists that the outcome does not mean that she won on a “technicality”, although she is less interested in drawing a pedantic distinction between “technicality” and “solicitor’s error” than in attempting to imply that the case was thrown out due to lack of merit. Thus, according to an obliging statement from her lawyers, Clifford Chance:

This petition was part of Mr Ireland’s continued campaign of harassment against our client. Our client believes that the petition was maliciously brought and had no merit. We are pleased that the right outcome, namely dismissal of the petition, was achieved. Our client was elected with a very clear majority and, with this petition now dismissed (and with the petitioner not having sought to appeal) she can continue with her job of representing the people of Mid-Bedfordshire?.

Some media reports have focused on this: thus one paper ran with the accurate but misleading headline “‘Smear’ claim thrown out” (a better alternative in another source was “Tory MP Nadine Dorries blocks blogger’s bid to take legal action”). Another distortion that has slipped into some reports concerns the fact that the solicitor attempted to rectify the error by giving notice of service a few days later; out of context this was reported by Andrew Sinclair, the Political Correspondent for BBC East, as “Judges threw out case as Ireland was late filing his papers”.

As expected, the deeply unpleasant Paul Staines ran a short post on the Guido Fawkes website, gloating that “Dorries Stalker Faces Ruin After High Court Flop”; Dorries has previously used the site to promote smear attacks against opponents, and Staines hates Tim for his own reasons. Staines likes to appear to have inside information, and so he concocted the completely fictitious detail that “Tim Ireland burst into tears after the ruling”.

UPDATE (later same day): Predictably, the author of the threatening website aimed at Tim had a new outburst shortly after the above was posted, with a stream of abusive Tweets aimed at me. The author – a man with a long history of personal dishonesty and grandiosity, as well as abusive sockpuppeting – has been in private contact with Dorries for some time. It is difficult to believe that she is unaware of his behaviour (she follows his account, and sometimes RTs his Tweets), or that she does know that he is using her false allegations as a basis for harassment.

As part of his goading, he made reference to a police information notice (or PIN, popularly known as a “harassment warning”) that was sent my way following a vexatious complaint made last year by Dennis Rice, a journalist who used to write abusively and threateningly about me and others (most notably, the author Peter Jukes) under the sockpuppet name “Tabloid Troll”. The circumstances of this incident are explained here. Rice is another figure who in is in private communication with Dorries, and in 2013 she heartily endorsed his abusive and thuggish trolling. Again, it is an association that brings discredit to her position as a Member of Parliament.

4 Responses

  1. Ms Dorries actually moved away from the constituency to reside in The Cotswolds weeks before the court hearing (yet used previous constituency address on court documents). All pretty standard for her and what we’ve come to expect from this self-serving Member.

  2. As always there are back links to phraseology that suits your narrative but no actual links to any of the nefarious characters to which you refer. Youre a fraud Richard.

    • Gosh, no backlinks to abusive attack sites. Fancy that. Perhaps I made it all up in the hope that no-one uses Google. Or perhaps you don’t like the idea that here’s a very reasonable account that raises serious questions about Dorries’ online associates and undermines a nasty smear campaign.

      Still, I’m glad you chose to leave a lame comment rather than make one of your creepy phone calls.

    • And you’re clearly one of them. Dorries and her disgusting associates are real.

      Of course she works with Dennis Rice the troll. He hates Tim Ireland because Ireland exposed him as being the very nasty Tabloid Troll on twitter. She hates Tim Ireland because he has exposed her bad behaviour too, along with many other corrupt Tories like Grant Shapps, and the same applies to that other really crazy guy that wrote that deranged warning letter and pretends to be an international terrorism expert. So now they all work together to smear Ireland, and half the world knows it.

      She’s an embarrasing disgrace, so are they, and so are you, whichever one you are.

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