A Plan Is Afoot To Oust Nadine Dorries From Parliament

The Tory MP did not quit "with immediate effect" as promised – and now an obscure rule is being examined.
Nadine Dorries has not spoken in the Commons since July 2022.
Nadine Dorries has not spoken in the Commons since July 2022.
Mike Marsland via Getty Images

Nadine Dorries is facing a campaign to remove her as an MP after abandoning a pledge to quit the Commons “with immediate effect”.

The Boris Johnson ally dramatically announced in June she was resigning from parliament after she was denied a seat in the House of Lords.

But the former culture secretary has yet to formally stand down, and has not spoken in the Commons since July 2022 and last voted in April.

Now Labour MP Chris Bryant, chair of the Commons committee on standards, wants to have a vote requiring Dorries to appear in parliament on a particular date under a rule dating back to 1801. It states that “no member do presume to go out of town without leave of this House”.

If the MP failed to do so, Bryant said this could be considered a “contempt of parliament”, which can be punished with a suspension from the Commons.

If MPs approve a suspension of 10 days or more this can trigger a by-election in the constituency, where voters have the chance to vote out their local MP.

He told the BBC: “I just think this is bringing the whole system into disrepute.

“Why should you be allowed to draw a salary and claim expenses for your staff and all that kind of stuff if you’re not actually doing the job of turning up?”

Dorries’ local council has also demanded she step down, as people in her constituency were being denied “effective representation” in parliament.

A by-election in the seat, which Dorries has held since 2005, can not be triggered until she takes the formal step of resigning.

The Conservatives have held Mid Bedfordshire since 1931. But a poll by Opinium in July suggested Labour could overturn Dorries’ 24,664 majority.


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