The following is an interview/article featuring Nadine Dorries from a 2007 edition of the Salvation Army’s War Cry.
Putting aside these deeply religious contentions, which are striking in themselves…
“I try to live my faith. Some days I fail quite miserably but I constantly try to do what Jesus would do.” – Nadine Dorries (source/PDF)
“I am not an MP for any reason other than because God wants me to be. ” – Nadine Dorries (source/PDF)
… Nadine’s contention that her previous ‘middle way’ option would put her at odds with pro-lifers is a fallacy if not a deceit; the entire campaign was conceived, written and backed by large pro-life groups whose full role Dorries has repeatedly attempted to hide from the public (detail | video) .
Second, those same groups are coordinating/enabling her latest efforts where Dorries and others are masquerading as “pro woman” campaigners seeking to protect vulnerable adults from the physical/mental harm they and other religious groups claim is a common post-abortion problem… but this article/interview from 2007 makes it very clear that Dorries is driven primarily NOT by a desire to protect women, but instead a deeply religious decision to reduce the number of abortions by any means possible, even if these means appear, intially, to be at odds with the anti-abortion agenda:
“I’ve been told my Bill will get nowhere while I have pro-lifers and abortion rights people against me. But my argument is: How can anyone argue – on any grounds – that my proposal is not right. Currently there are about 600 abortions a day in the UK. I’d like to reduce that number by at least half. The public is not interested in banning abortion. Those who hold out for a complete ban have not changed the law – they have not saved a single life. To me, saving some lives is better than saving no lives at all. I hope pro-lifers will come to share my view that some progress is better than no progress. ” – Nadine Dorries (source/PDF)
The full text of the interview/article appears below. It also includes some detail about her living arrangements at the time that will raise an informed eyebrow or two. She also repeats her dumbfounding contention that she is not accountable to those who live outside her constituency, even while she is campaigning to restrict their access to appropriate medical care.
MP call for lower abortion time limit
Salvation Army ‘War Cry’ #6182, 2 June 2007 (source/PDF)
HERE’S one for A Question of Sport: Which MP’s grandfather was a co-founder of Everton Football Club? Answer: Liverpool-born Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for Mid-Bedfordshire.
‘My grandfather, George Bargery, founded St Domingo’s FC which became Everton FC,’ she says as we talk in her Westminster office. ‘Everton’s ﬁrst game in the newly formed Football League was against Accrington. My grandad was the Everton goalie. He had a good game and became quite a local hero.’
That game was played on 8 September 1888 – the opening day of the season. It was played not at Goodison but at Anﬁeld, which is today home of mighty Liverpool. So, the most important question to ask of any Scouser: Red or Blue? Liverpool or Liverpool Reserves?
‘Red, deﬁnitely,’ says Nadine. ‘I suppose because of my grandfather I should support Everton, but I can’t just stop supporting my team. I couldn’t swap to Everton any more than I could cross the ﬂoor of the House of Commons.’ Nadine grew up on the Breck Road, a long kick from the Kop.
‘On match days I used to earn 2/6 looking after people’s cars,’ she says. ‘Money was very tight, so the football money helped. The family food bill was 7/6 and my father was ill from when I was very young. I had an impoverished childhood. I had to borrow shoes from a friend to go to school and one year my winter coat came from church or The Salvation Army.’
Nadine started her working life as a nurse in the Royal Liverpool Hospital. She then moved to Zambia with her husband, and took over the running of a community school.
‘I didn’t go to Zambia with that intent,’ she says, ‘but the woman who was running the school died of malaria. She was pregnant and wouldn’t take anti-malaria pills because of the risk of inducing a miscarriage. In the event mother and baby died. It was very sad. I just happened to be there so I took over the running of the school.’
Nadine returned to England and became managing director of a company. From 1998 to 1999 she was a director of BUPA.
She fought her ﬁrst general election in 2001 in the Greater Manchester seat of Hazel Grove. But it wasn’t until 2005 that she entered Parliament.
How big a career change is it to move from being a nurse to being an MP?
‘It’s not such a big change, actually. It might sound corny but it’s about caring for other people. In that sense it’s just a different aspect of what I’ve done throughout my working life.’
Nadine says she ﬁnds it difficult to pin down the moment she decided to become an MP. In fact, it is easier for her to identify a point which almost led her not to become an MP.
‘I was in church one Sunday around Easter when I said to God that maybe I should give up on the idea of being an MP. In 2001 I’d fought a difficult seat. I was bringing up children and was busy. I thought I had missed the boat. Maybe I’d got completely the wrong idea of what I should be doing.
‘I was struggling. One minute I’d tell myself to stay calm because something would work out for me, the next I’d panic and think it wasn’t going to happen.
‘I can still recall the chair I was sitting in. I remember looking at the cross and saying to God; “I’ve obviously got the wrong idea. It’s in your hands now.”
‘I walked out of church feeling relieved. I’d given up chasing something I’d been after for years. Then a few days later I got a phone call to tell me to keep a certain date free. I went along to a selection meeting as invited, was chosen over 17 other candidates and within six weeks of that day in church I was elected to Westminster.’
Two years on from that election victory, what is it like being a working mum who is an MP?
‘The hardest thing to deal with is the long Westminster hours. My two oldest girls are at university and my 15-year-old stays with her dad from Monday mornings until Thursday nights when I get back home. While male MPs might put their feet up when they get home, I go home to pick up my other full-time job – being Mum.
‘MOST of the time the girls are great about it but there are times when pressures build up. I’m accountable to 77,000 constituents, to my local Conservative Association, to the whips’ office and to the chamber of the House of Commons. Most of all I’m accountable to my daughters.
‘Even though I try to put them on the top of the pile, sometimes the phone rings, somebody wants me to do something and I can’t give them the time I’d planned to. It gets a bit tricky balancing family and work.
‘We need more women in Parliament. Women make up 52 per cent of the electorate and need representing. Being an MP is twice as difficult for a woman as it is for a man. Westminster is a harsh, unfriendly environment. Many women MPs retreat into being constituency MPs rather than parliamentarians.’
What makes that constant juggling of time, energy and demands worthwhile?
‘I feel I’ve built a really good relationship with my constituents. Before I became an MP I didn’t realise the scale of problems some people face. Being able to help people through such problems is immensely rewarding. I love being in Parliament. I love taking part in debates. But for me it is the people I represent who come ﬁrst.’
As well as representing the people of Mid-Bedfordshire, Nadine is sponsoring the Termination of Pregnancy Bill to reduce the upper time limit for abortions from 24 to 20 weeks.
‘This year is the 40th anniversary of the Abortion Act, which introduced the 24-week limit,’ she says. ‘Medical technology has changed enormously in that time. For example, thanks to 4-D scanning we know that a foetus can feel pain early in pregnancy.
‘No Labour Government will ever restrict a woman’s right to an abortion. They have what is known as Emily’s List, an organisation which helps ﬁnance the campaigns of women parliamentary candidates. Only pro-choice women are eligible for funding. Even if a future vote to abolish abortion carried a party whip, the Emily’s List MPs would support a woman’s right to abortion.
‘On the pro-life side of the fence, the public takes little notice of those who want to abolish abortion. They are dismissed as extremists. If I were to argue that all abortions should be banned, the ethical discussions would go round in circles because one person’s opinion is as valid as another’s.
‘My view is that the only way forward is to argue for a reduction in the time limit. I’ve heard the arguments about how it’s every woman’s right that she should be able to have an abortion. But I say it’s every baby’s right to have a life because science tells us that by 24 weeks they feel pain, they laugh, they smile, they hear and they think. There is a lot of public sympathy for the opinion that 24 weeks is too old for a foetus to be aborted.’
But doesn’t offering a middle option mean that you get caught in the crossﬁre between strident prochoicers and avid anti-abortionists?
‘Yes it does. I’ve been told my Bill will get nowhere while I have pro-lifers and abortion rights people against me. But my argument is: How can anyone argue – on any grounds – that my proposal is not right.
‘Currently there are about 600 abortions a day in the UK. I’d like to reduce that number by at least half. The public is not interested in banning abortion. Those who hold out for a complete ban have not changed the law – they have not saved a single life.
‘To me, saving some lives is better than saving no lives at all. I hope pro-lifers will come to share my view that some progress is better than no progress.
‘Doctors who carry out abortions are increasingly worried that they’ll deliver a live foetus, even at 20 weeks. The way babies are terminated from 20 weeks is horrendous.
‘According to Royal College guidelines, a canular is inserted through the mother’s abdominal wall into the heart of the foetus, which is given a lethal injection. Doctors wait two days to ensure that the baby is dead and then it is delivered.
‘I have seen scans of this process. It was like watching murder. I have seen the foetus moving away from the needle. It is the most heart-wrenching, awful thing to see.
‘If the public saw these images, they would be ﬁrmly in favour of reducing the age limit on abortion.’
Taking on such an emotive and explosive area as abortion is not a soft option for any MP, let alone one so new to the trade.
‘When I ﬁrst started this campaign I felt under attack,’ says Nadine. ‘I had hate mail. I felt my personal world was falling apart. My faith has helped me pull through. People are praying for me – not only fellow MPs but also thousands of people across the country.
AS a child Nadine was brought up to go to church. ‘But like a lot of kids, I left the church when I was a teenager,’ she says. ‘At the time I would have described myself as a Christian but it was only about 15 years ago that I was converted through an Alpha course. I realise how shallow my belief was before my conversion.’
It was the vicar of her local church who invited Nadine along to the ten-week introductory course on Christianity.
‘My ﬁrst response was to tell him I didn’t need to go,’ she says. ‘But I ended up going anyway. I suppose I was going to church without even knowing the most important aspects of Christianity – what it means and what it is about. Like many people I didn’t really know why Jesus died on the cross, how he could forgive our sins or who the Holy Spirit is. All of that was a revelation to me.’
What does Nadine’s faith give her?
‘My faith tells me who I am. It tells me why I am here. It tells me who is with me while I am pursuing my goals. I sometimes think if I didn’t have my faith, who would I be? How would I live my life?
‘My faith constantly gives me my reference point. It keeps me grounded. I am not an MP for any reason other than because God wants me to be. There is nothing I did that got me here; it is what God did. There is nothing amazing or special about me, I am just a conduit for God to use.’
And who is Jesus to Nadine?
‘Jesus is alive with me. I have my times of wondering – of not quite sensing his presence. I don’t know everything. I can’t do everything. And I can’t achieve anything in my own strength.
‘I need guidance. I need protection – and so does my family. I pray a lot for these things. ‘I try to live my faith. Some days I fail quite miserably but I constantly try to do what Jesus would do.’
And whether a Scouser comes from the red or the blue side of Liverpool, they’ll tell you one thing for sure: God loves a trier.
Perhaps God exists, and perhaps he/she does love a trier… but their alleged position on liars isn’t quite so favourable.
Once again, I’m calling her out in front of her constituents, in front of her supporters, and in front of her god.