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Nadine Dorries Quits As Tory MP Triggering By-Election

Dorries's decision to stand down will mean there will be a by-election in Mid Bedfordshire

4 min read

Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary and Boris Johnson loyalist, has announced she will quit as a Conservative MP with immediate effect, leaving Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his faltering party with a by-election on his hands.

“I have today informed the chief whip that I am standing down as the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, with immediate effect," Dorries tweeted on Friday afternoon

“It has been an honour to serve as the MP for such a wonderful constituency but it is now time for someone younger to take the reins.”

The former cabinet minister's decision to stand down will mean there will be a by-election in Mid Bedfordshire which has a majority of more than 20,000. The Liberal Democrats have already identified it as a major target seat, having secured victory over the Conservative in a number of recent by-elections. 

“This is a rural seat in the heart of the blue wall, we are in it to win it,” a Lib Dem spokesperson said. 

Dorries is strongly rumoured to be given a peerage under Johnson's honours list along with 50 other names including Alok Sharma and Ben Houchen. The list is expected to be confirmed imminently. She would have had to stand down as an MP in order to accept the honour. 

In February Dorries made it clear she would stand down as an MP at the next election. Dorries made the announcement on Friday Night with Nadine, the show that she presents on Talk TV.

Dorries has been a vocal critic of the move by Tory MPs to remove Johnson from 10 Downing Street last year and has publicly said he should be reinstalled as prime minister. She added the Conservatives faced a "terminal" defeat at the next general election, with the Tories "polling worse now than in 1997 when they were thrashed by Labour".

Number 10 and CCHQ were approached but declined to comment.

Dorries was elected as a Conservative MP in 2005 and has increased her majority at every subsequent election apart from 2017. But in 2019 she won by 24,664 votes. 

During her time as an opposition MP she sat on select committees including Education and Skills between 2005-06; Science, Innovation and Tech in 2007; Universities and Science in 2009 and the Climate Change committee between 2009-10. 

In 2009 she took legal action against Gordon Brown's Number 10 operation after Damian McBride, a former press secretary, suggested using a website to spread rumours about Conservative MPs such as Dorries.

After the event, the Mid Bedfordshire MP stood up in the Commons and confronted Gordon Brown, who issued an apology after replying: "Yes. And I have said sorry this has happened and I have also written to you personally,' the Telegraph reported.

Dorries was suspended by the Conservative Party and lost the whip after she appeared on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! in 2012. The following year she was forced to apologise to the House of Commons after she was condemned by the parliamentary watchdog for failing to properly register her earnings. 

The outspoken Conservative backbencher was given the Conservative whip back in May 2013 by David Cameron. She continued to be a thorn in the prime minister's side, accusing him of sexism and a "sheep in wolf's clothing", according to Tatler.

She told the magazine in 2012 she was a huge fan of Boris Johnson and claimed he could reach out to areas of the country that many Conservatives could not. 

Dorries was a major advocate for leaving the European Union during the referendum campaign in 2016. In May 2016, a month before the vote, she called upon Cameron to resign as prime minister and submitted a letter of no-confidence in to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee. 

She was critical of Theresa May's premiership and called for her to resign in 2018 after she had "let her down" on Brexit, the Evening Standard reported. However, although she voted against May's Brexit deal initially in January 15 2019, she voted for the withdrawal deal on March 12 and on March 29. 

When Boris Johnson became prime minister in 2019, Dorries flew up the ranks after starting as a minister for health in 2019 before being promoted to minister of social care in 2020. In September 2021 she became Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. 

She was one of Johnson's most loyal allies and accused Tory MPs of staging a "coup" after the toppled the former prime minister last June. Last year Dorries told GB News "14 million people voted for the Prime Minister and a group of MPs, ministers, the Chancellor, his sitting Chancellor, via what is effectively a coup, removed him."

After Boris Johnson was forced out of office, Dorries backed Liz Truss for prime minister and was a fierce critic of Rishi Sunak, who many in the Johnson camp blamed for bringing the former leader down.

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