Nadine Dorries has formally resigned her parliamentary seat 11 weeks after vowing to go, and launched a scathing attack on Rishi Sunak as he faces another challenging by-election.
The Tory former minister had announced in June that she would quit the Commons with “immediate effect” in protest at not getting a peerage in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list, but failed to follow through until now.
She accused the Prime Minister in her resignation letter of betraying Conservative principles and putting her personal safety at risk by whipping up “a public frenzy” against her.
The Treasury confirmed it has been notified of Ms Dorries’ intention to step down, and she is expected to be removed from the Commons by being appointed to the historical position of Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern on Tuesday.
That will pave the way for a by-election to be held in her Mid Bedfordshire constituency within weeks, causing a headache for Mr Sunak as his party languishes in the polls.
In her blistering statement, published in The Mail on Sunday – for whose sister title the Daily Mail she writes a column – Ms Dorries said Mr Sunak had abandoned “the fundamental principles of Conservatism” and said “history will not judge you kindly”.
“Since you took office a year ago, the country is run by a zombie Parliament where nothing meaningful has happened,” she wrote.
“You have no mandate from the people and the Government is adrift. You have squandered the goodwill of the nation, for what?”
I have submitted my resignation letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, today. https://t.co/80YwuBm2jn
— Rt Hon Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) August 26, 2023
The former culture secretary had come under mounting pressure in recent weeks – including from fellow Tory MPs – to act on her vow to resign on June 9.
She said she was delaying her exit while she investigated why she was refused a seat in the Lords.
In her lengthy letter, she accused Mr Sunak of leading attacks on her resulting in “the police having to visit my home and contact me on a number of occasions due to threats to my person”.
“The clearly orchestrated and almost daily personal attacks demonstrates the pitifully low level your Government has descended to.”
Mr Sunak previously said Ms Dorries’ voters were not “being properly represented”, but did not move to expel her.
Labour, the Lib Dems and two town councils in her constituency – Shefford and Flitwick – had urged her to go.
Constituents complained that she was “making a mockery” of them with her absenteeism as she had not spoken in the Commons since June 2022 and last voted in April.
In an interview with the The Mail on Sunday, the former nurse said it was “nonsense” her constituents have been ignored and that she was “disappointed” the Prime Minister made comments to that effect.
In her letter, Ms Dorries claimed she had first informed Cabinet Secretary Simon Case of her intention to resign in July last year, but that close allies of the Prime Minister “have continued to this day to implore me to wait until the next general election rather than inflict yet another damaging by-election on the party at a time when we are consistently twenty points behind in the polls”.
The staunch ally of former premier Mr Johnson said the book she has written titled The Plot: The Political Assassination Of Boris Johnson – to be published in September, “exposes how the democratic process at the heart of our party has been corrupted” and led her to conclude she could no longer remain as a backbench MP.
Ms Dorries told Mr Sunak in her letter that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer “does not have the winning X factor qualities of a Thatcher, a Blair, or a Boris Johnson, and sadly, Prime Minister, neither do you.
“Your actions have left some 200 or more of my MP colleagues to face an electoral tsunami and the loss of their livelihoods, because in your impatience to become Prime Minister you put your personal ambition above the stability of the country and our economy.”
Labour is hopeful of overturning Ms Dorries’ 24,000 majority in the by-election in Mid Bedfordshire, which the Conservative Party has held since 1931.
The Opposition’s Mid Bedfordshire campaign lead Peter Kyle conceded it is a “bigger challenge” than its recent success in Selby and Ainsty, where it flipped a 20,000 Conservative majority, but insisted “it’s one that we are actually prepared for”.
But the Liberal Democrats also believe they have the chance of springing another by-election shock after overturning a 19,000 blue majority in Somerton and Frome.
Leader Sir Ed Davey said: “The people of Mid Bedfordshire deserve better than this circus act that has followed the Conservatives these past few months.”
Downing Street declined to comment.