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Nadine Dorries: Staunch Johnson loyalist who took on the jungle

Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries has sent a resignation letter to the Prime Minister – launching a scathing attack on him.

In her letter, 78 days after first announcing she was stepping down with “immediate effect”, the Mid Bedfordshire MP accused Rishi Sunak of “demeaning his office by opening the gates to whip up a public frenzy” against her.

Ms Dorries, who has been an MP since 2005, first announced her decision to quit in June after she was omitted from Boris Johnson’s resignation honours.

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Five days after her initial announcement, Ms Dorries said she would delay her departure while she investigated the reason why she was not given a seat in the Lords.

In her resignation letter on Saturday afternoon, Ms Dorries accused Mr Sunak of abandoning “the fundamental principles of Conservatism” and said “history will not judge you kindly”.

Ms Dorries had not spoken in the Commons since June 2022, and last voted in April.

In her letter to the Prime Minister, the former minister continued: “Your actions have left some 200 or more of my MP colleagues to face an electoral tsunami and the loss of their livelihoods, because in your impatience to become Prime Minister you put your personal ambition above the stability of the country and our economy.

“Bewildered, we look in vain for the grand political vision for the people of this great country to hold on to, that would make all this disruption and subsequent inertia worthwhile, and we find absolutely nothing.”

Boris Johnson resignation
Ms Dorries has been embroiled in a string of controversies throughout her tenure as an MP (James Manning/PA)

Ms Dorries was born in 1957 in Liverpool and grew up on a council estate, which she writes about on her official website, saying: “I learnt to communicate with people from all walks of life.”

She started her working life as a nurse before pursuing a career in business, opening a child daycare business before becoming a director at Bupa.

Her career as a writer has seen her author more than 10 books, among them The Four Streets Quartet novels, as well as The Angels series about the nurses of Lovely Lane.

Before her election to Parliament as MP for Mid Bedfordshire in 2005, she worked for three years as an adviser to the former shadow home secretary and shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin.

Ms Dorries was thrust into the limelight in 2012 when she was suspended from the Conservative Party for appearing on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! without informing the chief whip first.

However, she was readmitted to the party in May 2013.

Her first ministerial appointment was as minister of state for patient safety, suicide prevention and mental health, during which she garnered criticism for rejecting cross-party talks to discuss a package of mental health support for frontline workers during the pandemic.

A staunch loyalist to then-prime minister Mr Johnson, Ms Dorries was promoted to secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport in September 2021.

In her time in the role she was a frequent advocate for BBC reform, and led the now-ditched plan to privatise Channel 4.

Despite backing Liz Truss in the race for leadership following Mr Johnson’s resignation, Ms Dorries decided not to continue as culture secretary when Ms Truss took over as prime minister.

Ms Dorries has been embroiled in a string of controversies throughout her tenure as an MP.

In 2009, when MPs’ expenses claims were revealed by the Daily Telegraph, she admitted she had got taxpayers to foot the bill for a lost £2,190 deposit on a rented flat.

And in 2010, she was rebuked by parliamentary standards commissioner John Lyon for misleading her constituents on her blog about how much time she spent in mid-Bedfordshire, admitting that it was “70% fiction”.

The mother to three daughters has also frequently been at odds with what she thought of as her party’s image, memorably referring to David Cameron and George Osborne as “arrogant posh boys”, while describing herself as “a normal mother who comes from a poor background and who didn’t go to a posh school”.

Earlier this year, Ms Dorries appeared to be positioning herself for a life after politics, launching a Friday night show in on TalkTV in February and became a columnist for the Daily Mail in April.

In February, Ms Dorries announced she would stand down as MP for Mid Bedfordshire at the next general election, criticising “the lack of cohesion” and “the sheer stupidity” of MPs who “got rid of Boris Johnson”.

Having sold more than 2.5 million copies of her books, the 65-year-old’s departure from politics is expected to enable her to return to writing.

She has been a vocal critic of Mr Sunak’s government since he entered Number 10 and is set to release a book on the downfall of Mr Johnson in September.