All Nadine Dorries' Helpful Interventions In The Tory Leadership Race So Far
(Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images)
Nadine Dorries is not running to be Tory leader. But her presence on the campaign trail has been arguably more attention-grabbing than either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak.
The culture secretary and uber Boris Johnson loyalist, who is backing Truss in the race to succeed him, has deployed something of a scorched earth policy when it comes to taking revenge on Sunak.
Here are some of the highlights of her involvement in race so far.
1. Admits poor Covid planning
In June, Tory MPs triggered a confidence vote in Johnson’s leadership of the party. The PM won, but the writing was on the wall as 41 per cent of the paerliamentary party voted to boot him from office.
Jeremy Hunt, who Johnson beat to the leadership in 2019, revealed he would vote against the PM in the first vote.
Dorries was so angered that in a series of tweets aimed at the former health secretary she publicly admitted the Conservative government had made “inadequate” preparations for the pandemic.
3/4 Your pandemic preparation during six years as health secretary was found wanting and inadequate.Your duplicity right now in destabilising the party and country to serve your own personal ambition, more so.
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) June 6, 2022
2. Rushes to No.10 to fight Johnson's critics
On July 6, cabinet ministers gathered in No.10 to tell Johnson the game was up and he had to resign. Nadhim Zahawi, Grant Shapps, Priti Patel and Brandon Lewis were among the delegation.
The prime minister learned what was waiting while giving evidence to a committee of senior MPs live on TV.
Dorries was also spotted heading into Downing Street. But she told reporters she was "definitely" not there to tell Johnson to quit. Instead she headed in to argue against the delegation's demands.
3. Gets Zahawi’s job wrong
As cabinet ministers resigned from Johnson’s government, Dorries stood firm. But it took her three attempts to congratulate Nadhim Zahawi who had just been appointed as the new chancellor.
She tweeted support for Zahawi when he was appointed chancellor - but congratulated him on being made health secretary. Praising his ability to “achieve against the odds”, she noted: “He will deliver for health in the same way he delivered for vaccines and education.”
This message was quickly deleted and replaced. This time, she attached the same photo of Zahawi alongside two photos of Steve Barclay, who really had been appointed as health secretary. This message was then deleted too.
She eventually gave up uploading the photos herself, and instead retweeted the official No.10 account, praising both Barclay and Zahawi for their new appointments.
4. ‘FFS Nadine’
Dorries, who owns £6,000 diamond earrings, launched an attack on Sunak for having expensive shoes and suits compared to Truss’ £4.50 earrings.
.@trussliz will be travelling the country wearing her earrings which cost circa £4.50 from Claire Accessories. Meanwhile…
Rishi visits Teeside in Prada shoes worth £450 and
sported £3,500 bespoke suit as he prepared for crunch leadership vote. https://t.co/1VO4xLwQ66
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) July 25, 2022
Tory colleague Angela Richardson MP respond: “FFS Nadine! Muted.” The row led veterans minister Johnny Mercer, who attends cabinet, to despair that the contest was “embarrassing”.
5. Tweets stabbing picture
Dorries later said she “may have gone over the top” with the attack on Sunak’s clothes.
She then shared a doctored image on Twitter showing Sunak stabbing Johnson in the back.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Dorries described Sunak as an “assassin” for helping to bring down Johnson, and a “dog in the manger” for not supporting the PM enough.
Business minister Greg Hands condemned Dorries’ actions as “distasteful” and “dangerous” in the wake of the killing of Southend West Tory MP Sir David Amess at a constituency surgery in Essex last October.
The contest still has five weeks to run.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.