STEVE ANGLESEY on Nadine Dorries’ attempts to lecture The Independent Group on party loyalty and her appearance on The Junk Food Experiment.
In her seminal 2014 novel of simple Irish folk forging a new life in Liverpool The Four Streets, Nadine Dorries writes of one character: ‘He might have been angry and lost all reason, but he wasn’t going to spill the Guinness.’
When Nadine herself gets angry, however, the black stuff ends up all over the Blarney Stone. The latest case in point being her tirades against former colleagues Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston, now in the Independent Group.
Dorries, a member of the wheel-grabbing European Research Group and someone who recently wrote a letter of no confidence in her party leader, simply couldn’t believe the disloyalty! ‘We don’t know what their policies are, we don’t know what their beliefs are… as far as I am concerned their constituents are without representation,’ she told Politics Live.
She went on to reveal, with typical Dorriesian genius, ‘as far as I’m concerned a good deal is better than a bad deal.’But it was the stuff about constituents being left without representation which raised an eyebrow. Because, back in 2012, the Mid-Bedfordshire MP did just that when she swanned off to Australia during a parliamentary sitting to appear on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, earning herself a six-month suspension from the Conservative Party. She lasted a mere 12 days in the jungle, being forced to eat ostrich anus and lambs’ testicles before becoming the first contestant in series 12 to be eliminated, carrying on a proud tradition of wooden spoons for Brexiteers established by Mike ‘UKIP Calypso’ Read (season three) and Robert Kilroy-Silk (season eight).
Nadine then returned to her parliamentary duties while launching a second career as a novelist. She even appeared on top of the best-seller list with The Four Streets, although that may have had as much to do with creative pricing (the e-book sold for between 20p and 70p) as it had to do with the undoubted excellence of sentences like ”Holy Mary’, he thought to himself, ‘where the feck has me sensibility gone and why is me hand shaking like a virgin on her wedding night, spillin’ the bleedin’ tea?”
In the subsequent years, Dorries has turned out eight more full-length books and one novella, during which time you and I have paid her around £310,000 to be an MP.
Though she insists she writes only in her spare time, all of the above might give some of us pause before accusing others of failing to properly represent their constituents. Not our Nadine, and her timing is even more magnificent given that this week she returns to ITV on The Junk Food Experiment, a 90-minute ‘extreme scientific experiment to find out what our junk food lifestyle is actually doing to us.’ Joining stars like Peter Andre, Tessa Sanderson, Shaun Wallace, Hayley Tamaddon and Hugo Taylor (no, me neither), our heroine puts her body on the line in the name of entertainment, eating first burgers, then fried chicken and finally pizza for lunch and dinner every day for a week apiece.
Part of the experiment occurs during parliamentary sessions, with Nadine explaining during her burger week: ‘I’m about to go into the chamber in the House Of Commons to give a speech on childhood obesity. Normally I just deliver it myself from my head. I don’t trust myself to do that tonight, I’ve written it out. So for the first time in years I’ll be reading from a speech.’ Those who have witnessed previous Commons appearances by La Dorries might reflect that she might want to try this approach more often.
Still, nothing on the The Junk Food Experiment could possibly live up to the embarrassment of chowing down on lamb bollocks and ostrich arsehole, right? Wrong. For as the show’s carefully-worded press release revealed: ‘Before the experiment began, Nadine’s stool sample showed a healthy gut. As she pops into the loos at the Houses of Parliament to give another sample, Nadine is worried what her latest results will now show…’
In other words, once again Nadine Dorries’ waste matter is being featured on our TV screens – just not on Politics Live this time.
BREXITEERS OF THE WEEK
4. BORIS JOHNSON
Just where does the bus charlatan find the inspiration for his weekly Telegraph column, where like Johnson himself, the ideas are increasingly thin? His latest dull effort, for which the former foreign secretary was paid nearly £5.300, was trailed with a tweet moaning ‘I am getting sick of the constant suggestion that anyone who sticks up for Brexit must have far-right tendencies.’
Odd, since no-one is really suggesting this (although someone who gets advice from Steve Bannon and refers to ‘piccaninnies’ and ‘letterboxes’ might just be assumed to have far-right tendencies).
Perhaps the answer can be found in a tweet from PR woman Carrie Symonds, who declared on February 20: ‘Supporting Brexit does not make you far-right. Tedious, insulting and just plain wrong to keep stating that it does.’
Symonds is, of course, Boris Johnson’s new girlfriend.
3. JULIA HARTLEY-BREWER
‘Just approaching the border between France and Switzerland… and now I’m in Switzerland. I reckon that took all of 20 seconds,’ tweeted TalkRadio’s morning show host from her holidays, forgetting that a) Switzerland is in the Schengen Area and b) the experience is somewhat different for lorry drivers, who face wait times of between 20 minutes and two hours to cross.
The tweet came a week after columnist Quentin Letts, who has recently left the Daily Mail for the Times, made the same mistakes when he tweeted: ‘Just skied from the EU into independent Switzerland. Quite disgracefully, there was no hard border. Not even a line in the snow.’
Hartley-Brewer’s radio programme is billed as the No-Nonsense Breakfast – perhaps a bit misleading in this case?
2. KELSEY GRAMMER
The Frasier star is notorious in the USA for his right-wing views – in 2015 he posed in an anti-abortion T-shirt bearing the image of a pistol and the slogan ‘Would it bother us more if they used guns?’ So no surprise that he decided to sell tickets for his upcoming West End debut in Man Of La Mancha by scoffing at the idea of a second referendum.
Grammer told Radio 4: ‘I do overhear the talk about Brexit and I think, ‘Well, why are they voting again for it?’ I think, well couldn’t you vote once? It’s sort of like you keep voting to get the result you want.’ He later added, ‘Holy crap, it’s been two years, what the hell? Get on with it.’
Asked in by 2016 by the Guardian to name the living person he most admired, Grammer chose ‘Putin, because he is so comfortably who he is’. Thus proving that the man who sang about tossed salads and scrambled eggs is a bit of a tosser himself.
1. DAVID DAVIS
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Theresa May’s first hopeless Brexit minister continues to remain convinced of his own genius. Asked in an interview with society magazine Tatler whether he has the credentials to one day lead the Conservatives, Davis replied: ‘Yes. And if this were an application for a job as a chief executive, I would probably win it. But it isn’t. And that isn’t the way the decision is done.’
Any job interviewer worth their salt might make things tricky for DD by bringing up his non-existent impact reports, his painfully under-prepared select committee appearances or quotes like ‘there will be no downside to Brexit, only a considerable upside’. But no doubt Davis, who referred to himself in the interview as ‘the last of the great romantic radicals’, sees these things as virtues.
‘Free our minds of doubt and danger,’ he wrote this week. His own mind appears blissfully free of many things.
• Steve Anglesey appears on The New European podcast available online every Friday morning on our website, on iTunes and Spotify.