Nadine Dorries Insists Boris Johnson Tells The Truth In Hideously Awkward Interview

Nadine Dorries was appearing on BBC Breakfast (Photo: BBC)
Nadine Dorries was appearing on BBC Breakfast (Photo: BBC)

Nadine Dorries has again insisted that Boris Johnson tells the truth - and appeared to blame his advisers for any misleading statements he makes.

In a hideously awkward interview, the Culture Secretary said the prime minister was “truthful to the best of his knowledge”.

She also took aim at the growing number of Conservative MPs calling on the prime minister to resign, accusing many of them of also trying to get rid of David Cameron and Theresa May.

Dorries, one of Johnson’s strongest allies, was speaking at the end of a chaotic week in which five senior Number 10 officials have resigned.

The PM has also been engulfed in a row after he made the untrue accusation that Keir Starmer had let Jimmy Savile escape prosecution when he was Director of Public Prosecutions.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning, Dorries was in pugnacious form as she insisted the prime minister was making good on his pledge to shake up the No. 10 operation in the wake of Sue Gray’s highly-critical report into the partygate affair.

At the start of the interview, presenter Charlie Stayt asked: “Have you spoken to the prime minister recently in the last 24 hours?”

Dorries replied: “Why? Why are you asking me that question?”

Stayt responded: “I’d like to know.”

The Cabinet minister then said: “We’ve communicated.”

After an awkward silence, Stayt said: “I’m really confused. Is that a difficult question? I’m just asking if you’ve spoken to the prime minister in the last 24 hours.”

Dorries replied: “We have communicated.”

Stayt responded by saying: “OK, what has he communicated to you?”

Dorries said: “I’m not going to tell you the extent of my communications with the prime minister. I mean, I’ve answered your question. What is your next question?”

Asked to describe the prime minister’s mood, the minister said: “I’d say his mood was very positive, extremely positive. I mean, ‘onwards’ is one of his favourite expressions, I think he’s very positive.”

Stayt then asked if Johnson had changed, to which Dorries replied: “Changed what?”

The presenter replied: “His attitude.”

The minister said: “To what?”

In response, Stayt said: “To the way he runs he government. I remember the quote, him saying in the Commons ‘I’ve got it, I get this’ about things that have been done wrong, and the implication was that he would do things slightly differently. Indeed, he sent a letter to backbench MPs saying there’s going to be more interaction, so my question is a pretty fundamental one, which is we’re supposed to take now that Boris Johnson admits that things should have been done differently ... the implication is that a different Boris Johnson is emerging. Is he exactly the same in your book.”

A clearly annoyed Dorries replied: “Your question was actually very open-ended and non-specific. But what I would say is that the prime minister, when he appeared before the 22 committee last week, promised change and I think anybody who reads a newspaper or watches television news can see a huge amount of change underway at present, particularly in Number 10.”

Twelve Tory MPs have confirmed that they have submitted letters of no confidence in the prime minister, but the true figure is thought to be much higher. Under the party’s rules, 54 are needed to trigger a vote on the PM’s future.

Dorries said those speaking out against the PM were “the same names that we continually keep (hearing) cropping up” and were in “safe seats”.

She said: “Some of those same names tried to get David Cameron out and tried to get Theresa May out and are now trying to get Boris Johnson and the truth is no prime minister would please any of those.”

Challenged over the prime minister’s disputed claim that there are now more people in work than there were before the pandemic, Dorries said: “You asked me specifically does the prime minister tell the truth.

“He would have been given by advisers and researchers the fact that there were more people in work than there were at the beginning of the pandemic, not on the payroll.

“So did he tell the truth when he did that? Yes, he told the truth as it was given to him.”

She added: “I can personally tell you that the prime minister, when he stands at the dispatch box and makes quotes like the one you just quoted, it’s because the researchers and his advisers will have given him that quote. He was truthful to the best of his knowledge when he made that quote.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.