Nadine Dorries Sparks Fresh Tory Row With Half-Hearted Apology Over Rishi Sunak Tweet

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Nadine Dorries arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street. (Photo: James Manning via PA Wire/PA Images)
Nadine Dorries arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street. (Photo: James Manning via PA Wire/PA Images)

Nadine Dorries arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street. (Photo: James Manning via PA Wire/PA Images)

Nadine Dorries has sparked a fresh Tory civil war after she made a half-hearted apology for a tweet about Rishi Sunak’s expensive clothes.

The culture secretary - who is backing Sunak’s rival, Liz Truss, to be the party’s new leader - said she “may have gone over the top” when she criticised the former chancellor for wearing £450 Prada shoes and a £3,500 bespoke suit.

She compared his choice of attire with Truss wearing £4.50 ear-rings from Claire’s Accessories.

That prompted her Tory colleague Angela Richardson MP to respond: “FFS Nadine! Muted.”

In an article for Mail+ published on Saturday night, Dorries said her tweet had been a criticism of Sunak’s judgment rather than “anti-aspiration”.

She said: “I wanted to highlight Rishi’s misguided sartorial style in order to alert Tory members not to be taken in by appearances in the way that happened to many of us who served with the chancellor in cabinet.

“The assassin’s gleaming smile, his gentle voice and even his diminutive stature had many of us well and truly fooled.”

Dorries went on: “OK, I may have gone slightly over the top by comparing Liz Truss’s £4.50 ear-rings to Rishi’s £3,500 suit.”

But attacking the tax rises Sunak introduced as chancellor, the cabinet minister added: “It wasn’t my comment which was anti-aspiration. Anti-aspiration runs through the policies of a man who lacks economic creativity and wants to keep taxes high.”

Elsewhere in the article, Dorries described Sunak as “the classic dog in the manger as chancellor”.

“Whenevr Boris sought him out to discuss serious issues, Rishi was always polite but unforthcoming,” she said. “Never a team player.”

However, her tweet promoting the article provoked an angry reaction from her fellow Tory MP Simon Hoare, who called on Liz Truss to intervene.

He said: “This ‘apology’ has a whiff of prejudice about it. The faux “what I really meant” history rewrite is depressing . Your comments are divisive, disingenuous & disturbing.”

In a second tweet, the North Dorset MP added: “If Liz Truss is serious in her desire to reunite our Party she must call this out and condemn it. Silence can only = ‘I approve this message’. ‘It’s only Nadine being Nadine’ simply won’t do/wash. Let’s try and keep this contest classy. We do have a country to lead/govern.”

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

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