Nadine Dorries is unfit to Chair the Health Select Committee

Posted by Tim Ireland at 9 June 2010

Category: Christ..., Tories! Tories! Tories!

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
at
9:01 am and is filed
under Christ…, Tories! Tories! Tories!.

MPs will vote in a secret ballot today on a series of committee positions. During this process, they will decide between the following Conservative MPs for Chair of the Health Select Committee; Sir Paul Beresford, Mr Peter Bone, Mr Stephen Dorrell… and Mrs Nadine Dorries

Nadine Dorries… as Chair… of the Health Select Committee.

If that sentence doesn’t send a chill down your spine, it should; it’d be bad news for breathers everywhere if it actually came to be.

There are many reasons why this MP is unsuited as Chair of any committee outside of a church fete, but I know you’re busy, so I’ve settled on one. Also, rather than dig up any ‘ancient history’ (such as her conduct while sitting on the Parliamentary Science and Tech Select Committee in 2007), I’m going to take a look at the immediate past.

From 7 October 2009 to 11 May 2010, Nadine Dorries was a member of the Commons Science and Technology Committee (and it is at this point that I would like to depart from the narrative just long enough to dedicate the rest of this post to PDF files everywhere*):

House of Commons : Science and Technology Committee : Formal Minutes : Session 2009-10 [.PDF]

Looking at the introduction to the above minutes, there is a name right under Dorries’ on the membership list that immediately catches my eye:

Mrs Nadine Dorries (Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire)
Dr Evan Harris (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West & Abingdon)

Moving on to the minutes themselves, you may note a subtle pattern in the notes on attendance:

The committee met on Wednesday 18 November 2009. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting..

The committee met again on Wednesday 25 November 2009. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Ian Stewart, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting..

The committee met again on Monday 30 November 2009. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Ian Stewart, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 2 December 2009. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Ian Cawsey, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 9 December 2009. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Mr Ian Cawsey, Ian Stewart, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 6 January 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Dr Brian Iddon, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 13 January 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 20 January 2010 . Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Dr Doug Naysmith, Ian Stewart, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 27 January 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Ian Cawsey, Dr Doug Naysmith, Ian Stewart, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 3 February 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Dr Doug Naysmith, Ian Stewart, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Monday 8 February 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Dr Doug Naysmith, Mr Ian Cawsey, Ian Stewart, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 10 February 2010 . Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Dr Doug Naysmith, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 24 February 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Dr Doug Naysmith, Ian Stewart, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Monday 1 March 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Dr Doug Naysmith, Ian Stewart, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 3 March 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Dr Doug Naysmith, Ian Stewart, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 10 March 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Dr Doug Naysmith, Mr Ian Cawsey, Dr Brian Iddon, and Graham Stringer.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 17 March 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Monday 22 March 2010 . Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Dr Doug Naysmith, Ian Stewart, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting.

The committee met again on Wednesday 24 March 2010. Members present were Mr Phil Willis (in the Chair), Mr Tim Boswell, Dr Brian Iddon, Graham Stringer, and Dr Evan Harris.

Nadine Dorries did not attend this meeting

During these meetings, the committee discussed a wide range of topics including drug misuse, Swine Flu, homeopathy, and bioengineering. One might expect some or all of these topics to be of passing interest to someone with “a natural leaning to towards all health related issues” (sic) (source) but Dorries did not attend a single meeting of this committee for its entire session (and there is no record of her resigning in the minutes that I can see).

So if Dorries seriously considers herself worthy and capable of holding the position of Chair on the Health Select Commitee, what reason can she give to explain her dismal attendance record in the far less demanding role of ‘member’ in this previous committee?

Well, here’s a clue for you; the jubilant election-night tweet by Nadine Dorries celebrating the defeat of fellow committee member Dr Evan Harris in Oxford West and Abingdon:

@Nadine4mp: Do my eyes and ears deceive me? Has Dr Death really lost his seat ? (screengrab)

(There was an outcry that followed. This tweet upset a great many people and struck even some fellow Tories as unjustified and undignified. Dorries then closed her Twitter feed claiming she only wanted to use it for the election. A week after that, Stephen Timms was stabbed and Dorries went on to use a magic time machine to claim this was the reason why she had closed her Twitter account and her blog, but that’s a whole other story.)

The nickname ‘Dr Death’ has been used against Dr Evan Harris by a small number of opponents, and their typical justification for it is best summarised in this Daily Mail headline from October 2007:

Daily Mail – Meet Dr Death, the Lib Dem MP Evan Harris who backs embryo experiments, euthanasia and freer abortion

There is also compelling evidence to suggest that Nadine Dorries herself may have been the person who initially fed this nickname to the media as an attack device (before later describing it as a nickname used by “most MPs and journalists”).

Collectively, this evidence is at risk of giving some people the impression that Dorries allowed a difference of opinion on some aspects of biological science to become deeply personal… possibly to the extent that she felt unable to function as a member of a committee – despite her commitment to Parliament and the people – purely because Dr Evan Harris was present at the relevant meetings (as he was at every meeting bar one).

Then again, it may be that Nadine Dorries was simply busy doing something else more important at the time… for every single meeting of the entire 09/10 session of this committee (e.g. On 24 February 2010, she did not have time to attend the Commons Science and Technology Committee meeting, but she did have time to speak at a conference about her ‘blog’. Before this, she was unable to attend the 9 December 2009 meeting because she was busy all that week filming a reality TV show (in which she sought to gain advantage by hiding cash in her bra and – it is alleged – drugs in her washbag).

Either way, she’s not looking like the best candidate for Chair of the Health Select Committee. Not by a long shot.

In fact, if you take a look at the wider evidence (some of which is referenced in this post) you may come to the conclusion that I reached a while ago; she’s unfit to hold office as an MP, and only retains the support of the Conservative party because of their reliance on the Christian right and associated fringe elements (i.e. the type of people who portray/describe pro-choice opponents as baby murderers).

But it will be enough today that you understand/appreciate the evidence and share it with your MP before they vote in the relevant ballot.

You might want to hurry, BTW. Commitee voting starts at 10am today.

Thanks for your time. Cheers all.

[*Private joke. Never mind.]

[Don’t get me started on how Nadine Dorries conducts herself at meetings.]

[Psst! While I’ve got your attention; Patrick Mercer is a disgrace, too.]

EPILOGUE (11 June) – (a) Stephen Dorrell was elected chair of the health committee. Not Dorries. Phew. (b) While I expected Nadine Dorries to do better in a secret ballot than she did in her recent whatever-that-was against the Speaker, these numbers (PDF/source) are far higher than I expected, and just a little bit scary. There are up to 143 MPs in this Parliament who either don’t know that Dorries is a delusional liar… or don’t care.








3 Comments

  1. Mr Eugenides says

    Very nice job. As sympathetic as I am to the Tories, this appalling woman is best kept as far from any levers of power as possible.

  2. CPLOL says

    As I recall when this spectacularly bad attendance was first pointed out in an article in the MSM finding a goodly number of MPs falling very short of expected attendance at such committees Nadine did two things:1. Stated that she wasn't attending because of the Chairing style of the very lovely (for a Lib Dem) Phil Willis; and2. Stated that she had hardly even attended that first meeting such were her working together, people hugging irrespective of party, consensus building, making things fun for everyone, so they wouldn't be finding excuses committee skills. She did one.She not only hasn't ever chaired anything I can find a trace of, but she has hardly ever been chaired either. Except of course by Speakers of the House such as Mr Bercow. Another story.Personally I think we should be lobbying for Nadine to Chair Health. Think of the drama, think of the cock ups, think of the crashing and burning.It is a very sad thing that there is no attendance register at the House, apart from for divisions, and that there is no record of guest passes, lunch guests and the like.The former might show a generally rather thin attendance for some MPs. The latter some interesting guests who would for example like to hobnobble with members of select committees whose business they were interested in and vice versa.

  3. Manic says

    Revealed: The MPs who skip select committee(Wednesday, 08, Apr 2009)http://bit.ly/a0KLiR"Nadine Dorries – Innovation, universities, science and skills committee. Attendance: two per cent"Oh dear.If she's using the same excuse this time (claims of resignation over bias in meetings she hasn't attended), she's doing it in private.

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