Nadine Dorries bowing out of cabinet marks end of a chaotic, terrifying era

Nadine Dorries

Ultimate Boris Johnson fangirl, former I’m A Celebrity contestant and culture secretary Nadine Dorries will return to the backbenches as Liz Truss takes over as prime minister.

Dorries was reportedly offered the opportunity to keep her culture secretary role, but confirmed on Tuesday (6 September) she would step back from the cabinet, leaving behind a chaotic and contentious legacy.

Dorries became the Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire in 2005, and after Johnson replaced Theresa May as Conservative party leader in 2019, she was appointed as minister of state for mental health, suicide prevention and patient safety.

There is little to be said about what Dorries actually did during her time as mental health minister, aside from the fact that as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated, she refused to attend cross-party talks on providing mental health care for frontline workers.

In September 2021, Dorries was welcomed into Johnson’s inner sanctum when she was appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport. Over the next year, Dorries would defend Johnson at every single opportunity, often without any regard for logic or reason.

During her stint as culture secretary, Dorries proved she had very little idea of what she was doing – describing her job in an unforgettable TikTok, she promised to provide “tennis pitches”, and to help people “downstream your movies” and “exercise your sports”.

Dorries could have spent time researching where tennis is actually played and how the internet works, but she dedicated much of her final months as culture secretary attacking trans folk.

She has loudly supported banning trans athletes from women’s sports, insisting trans women competing alongside cis women is “inherently unfair”.

In June, Dorries told representatives from multiple major sports: “I have made my position absolutely clear: I expect sporting bodies to follow the policy that competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex.”

And it’s not just trans people Dorries has spoken out against.

She infamously voted against same-sex marriage in 2013, comparing gay marriage to incest and describing the bill as “political suicide”.

In an article at the time for Conservative Home, she wrote that “gay marriage is a policy which has been pursued by the metro elite gay activists and needs to be put into the same bin [as reform of the House of Lords]”, adding that she had never met a same-sex couple that wanted to get married, and that the legislation “transforms them into political agitators who have set themselves against the church and community”.

Although she went on to insist her opposition to marriage equality was her “biggest regret”, in 2018 she weaponised the issue to support a UK burka ban while defending Johnson (again) after he described women who wear the garment as looking like “bank robbers” or “letterboxes”.

Dorries is a prolific, if not quite gifted, author and this year, an extract from her 2014 novel The Four Streets resurfaced in which a character compares homosexuality with paedophilia.

The book, which features a community of Irish dockers’ families in Liverpool in the 1950s – and also inexplicably, a ghost – received widespread criticism for a section when a member of a paedophile ring says: “Homos will be in the law soon… we will be one day too.”

Dorries earned around £157,000 in royalties from her books in 2020, on top of her £82,000 MP salary, plus expenses, despite crime writer Abir Mukherjee once saying: “Calling Nadine Dorries an author is like saying cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer was a chef.”

Nadine Dorries is expected to receive a peerage from Boris Johnson on his way out the door

Reporting Nadine Dorries’ return the backbenches, Mail+ stated Boris Johnson is expected to hand her a peerage as he leaves Downing Street.

Interestingly, although Dorries once slammed former prime minister David Cameron for “filling the House of Lords with expensive unelected peers”, she may now become one of them.

If she does become Baroness Dorries, a by-election will automatically be triggered in her constituency of Mid Bedfordshire.