Hi folks. What follows is an open letter to Nadine Dorries in response to her latest public outburst, which made the pages of her local newspaper yesterday. What you glimpsed on Twitter and/or in Bedfordshire on Sunday yesterday is barely the half of it; wait until you see what she tried to pull in her full statement. I was literally speechless myself.
As you should be aware, this is my first email to you since 30 March, 2010.
I am reluctant to contact you by email at all given how you have portrayed/described my ten emails to you over the past two years (especially when each and every one of these emails was written in response to your repeated outbursts about me), but you give me little choice.
Today I write to you to demand that you immediately cease broadcasting any further suggestion or assertion that I have a violent, criminal character.
You have presented no evidence to justify it, the claim is extraordinarily damaging, and further (as has been repeatedly explained to you and your associates) it is a claim that puts me and my family at considerable risk because of special circumstances that you appear determined to exploit.
On Friday afternoon (21 April) I was contacted by Bedfordshire on Sunday. In a process you likened to “a form of torture” during the recent expenses scandal, they sought my response to a statement you had issued about the closure of your Twitter account and (I was surprised to hear) your ‘blog’. To their credit, they declined to include the reference to Stephen Timms in the resulting article, which I include in this open letter as clear evidence of your intentions in this matter:
“Tim Ireland lives in Guildford.
“He is not a Mid Bedfordshire resident and therefore I am not answerable or accountable to him in any way whatsoever.
“I have been in consultation regarding his behaviour with the Westminster division of the Metropolitan Police, and the House of Commons police, for more than a year.
“Their advice was to close down my blog and Twitter account and thereby remove the ‘oxygen’ upon which he fed.
“As an election was imminent, I ignored this advice.
“Following the Stephen Timms incident last week I have decided that I should pay attention to the police advice and have therefore closed down both Twitter and my blog for the time being.”
On the 1st sentence, I can only stress that until recently you were convinced that I was from Croydon (and that your fellow Conservative Anne Milton was the MP for Croydon). Some people might take this error as a warning that they should look closer at the evidence they are relying on, but not you apparently.
On the 2nd sentence, I must ask; if you really feel this way, why do you continue to praise and endorse the work of Iain Dale, Paul Staines, Harry Cole, Phil Hendren and other Tory bloggers who repeatedly blog about MPs from outside their constituency? (There’s a wider point about my rights and our democracy that you’re missing, but given your narrow outlook, this question is your best path to it. Good luck.)
The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th sentences are highly defamatory, not least because the innuendo is one of my having a violent, criminal character. You cannot possibly hope to justify this; I have no criminal record for violent crime or any other kind of crime (though I may have strayed over the speed limit when going past a speed camera once). In fact, outside of the activism that occasionally puts us at odds, I’ve not had even a hint of trouble with police; certainly nothing that could support the idea that I am capable of criminal acts and/or violence toward others.
Yet in the above release (as in your outburst at Flitwick hustings) you present as a statement of fact (NOT an expression of opinion) that I have repeatedly engaged in criminal acts and represent such a danger to you that my actions have prompted a police investigation and hampered your capacity to communicate with your constituents to the extent that a range of extraordinary security measures are now required to ensure your safety! Your wish to include specific reference to the stabbing of Stephen Timms makes your intentions absolutely clear in this respect.
This is an allegation so serious, the sting of it would not be removed by a right of reply, and it is an allegation you continue to make in public and in private, despite a total lack of evidence and some very clear dangers to me (i.e. beyond the damage one might normally expect from defamation such as this).
What follows are two emails I sent to your local Conservative association that you were CCed on (i.e. two of only three emails I have sent you this year). I repeat them now to reinforce their plea, and to show the public the “barrage” of messages you have been passing off as “vile” and “abusive”:
From: Tim Ireland
*Date: Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 2:19 PM
I write to you today about the conduct of Nadine Dorries.
It is no secret that I am highly critical of Dorries’ and have repeatedly blogged about her, but:
1. She cannot classify this as harassment while supporting a campaign like #KerryOut (and/or continuing to endorse those behind it)
2. Dorries has published accusations about my mental state and my involvement in what she claims are attempts to prevent her free access to Twitter, but she cannot back any of this with evidence because none of it is true.
3. I’ve certainly gone out of my way to make Dorries more accountable (in much the same way that her friends pursue other MPs, often with far less justification), but nothing I have done warrants the repeated publication of my home address online, threats of violence, and other measures designed to intimidate me (if not put me at actual risk of harm).
While Dominic Wightman is the main ringleader, a man named Charlie Flowers is behind most of the attacks I have described in #3. He claimed in front of witnesses to have engaged in these online attacks on behalf of Nadine Dorries, and also claims to have emailed her and other pro-Tory bloggers (including Iain Dale and Paul Staines) to advise them of his actions/intentions.
– If Charlie Flowers is telling the truth about these emails:
Nadine Dorries chose not to alert me after receiving those emails. Why is that? Nadine Dorries has since published a vague claim about forwarding some unspecified emails to police, but she won’t provide me with any data that allows me to confirm her story and/or connect her report with my ongoing efforts to end this harassment. Why would she refuse to do this?
– If Charlie Flowers is lying about these emails;
Why would Nadine Dorries refuse the opportunity to immediately discredit him and perhaps even disown the campaign of harassment while she’s at it? Certainly it’s convenient for Nadine and many of her friends if I am so hampered by this harassment that I am unable to press her for answers about the £50 in her bra and the alleged drugs in her wash bag on Tower Block of Commons (just to give you two examples) but perhaps she – or you – can put forward some other likely reason.
– Regardless of the truth about the emails:
Nadine Dorries is well aware of what has been going on these past months and the harassment I have suffered after exposing the lies of two ‘amateur terror experts’ formerly associated with fellow Conservative MP Patrick Mercer. It cannot have escaped her attention that Mercer himself is using false accusations of stalking to avoid any questions about the matter.
Dorries may also be under the impression that I am mentally ill, or she may only be using the accusations/implications she has published about this for further cover/gain. Either way, the claims of mental instability put forward mostly by Dorries and her friends (Iain Dale, Phil Hendren and Harry Cole) rest on their dual assertion that (a) they have no case to answer, and (b) I hold to a grand, nonsensical conspiracy theory. Well, they do have a case to answer, not least because the conspiracy I described to them earlier was recently confirmed as genuine in front of witnesses; Dominic Wightman, Charlie Flowers and their associates have been repeating what these bloggers defend as ‘opinion’ and passing it off as fact. (Whether or not their continued/collective silence on the matter and their refusal to withdraw damaging/dangerous lies about me when they know how they are being used amounts to a wider conspiracy has yet to be established, but certainly can’t be ruled out.)
Dorries is also aware that accusations/’opinions’ published by her and close friend/ally Iain Dale form the bulk of the evidence behind the claims by Charlie Flowers and his associates (the ‘Cheerleaders’) that I am a stalker of women.
To put this into context, to avoid a repeat of earlier web account closures, Flowers and the ‘Cheerleaders’ are now recruiting other people to do their dirty work for them. When briefing new recruits, they tell them I am a stalker of women, and provide them with my home address. I fear for what may happen in those circumstances, especially in light of what happened after Glen Jenvey was convinced (by Dominic Wightman) that I was a convicted paedophile**.
Nadine Dorries could clear the matter up and significantly reduce the relevant dangers with a simple public statement, but she chooses not to.
I’m assuming she does not regard me to be an actual stalker, as she has yet to lodge any formal complaint about me, she hasn’t even threatened civil action, and mostly she is very careful about not identifying anyone when she publishes claims/implications about stalking.
Even if she does regard me to be a stalker, I would contend that relying on a vigilante response is an inappropriate way for an MP to behave.
I would further add that, in the course of investigating the many lies and deceptions of this MP, I have encountered and uncovered quite a lot of personal data. I have no interest in publishing or exploiting this data in any way, and I even take care to avoid reporting/publishing details that might lead people to this same data. (The most recent example of this being a report on [xx name snipped xx], whose personal details are entirely unprotected and all-too-accessible.) I have no interest in ‘harassing’ this MP, and if I did, there would be far easier ways to go about it other than publishing my criticism of her under my own name on a UK-hosted website. By contrast, the Tories who so often attack me on behalf of Nadine Dorries (Iain Dale, Phil Hendren, Harry Cole etc.) do so on US-based websites (making any potential civil action prohibitively expensive) or through a variety of false identities. At least one of Dorries known associates (Phil Hendren) has also sought to intimidate me through the publication of personal data in a related dispute. If you or anyone else seeks a ‘tit for tat’ justification for what Wightman, Flowers and the ‘Cheerleaders’ have been up to, you won’t find one in my corner.
In fact, twice now I have found myself in possession of data that would help Nadine Dorries track anonymous attacks against her, and twice I have offered that data to Dorries unconditionally, and in good faith. Both times I was ignored while Dorries allowed me to cop the blame for some aspect of these anonymous attacks. In the latter instance, she specifically accused me of being behind the attack, and maintained that accusation, even after I published the relevant evidence. This goes beyond poor manners. There’s no other word for it but ‘malice’, and I suspect that malice is what is keeping Nadine Dorries from acting responsibly in this instance.
Assuming the personal animosity Nadine Dorries and her supporters feel towards me hasn’t spilled over into the local Association, I’d like to ask that you take what action you can to resolve this matter. (I could pursue Dorries directly through a number of channels, but I fear any such attempt will be portrayed as ‘further’ harassment and used as an excuse to avoid the entire issue.)
The first matter I’d like to clear up is the claim by Nadine Dorries to have forwarded emails (we can only assume from Flowers and co.) to police somewhere in London. I’d like to know what she forwarded, when she did this, and which branch/officer she forwarded this data to as a matter of urgency.
I would appreciate a response by email today, please.
PS – It also bears mentioning that Nadine Dorries implied that the late Frank Branston was somehow stalking her. She refused to withdraw this politically-motivated smear, even after the poor chap passed away.
From: Tim Ireland
*Date: Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 8:50 AM
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
To repeat: The first matter I’d like to clear up is the claim by Nadine Dorries to have forwarded emails (we can only assume from Flowers and co.) to police somewhere in London. I’d like to know what she forwarded, when she did this, and which branch/officer she forwarded this data to as a matter of urgency.
It has been over a month now, and you’ve not even afforded me the courtesy of a reply. I fear your sense of urgency is lacking.
Meanwhile, the people orchestrating this campaign of harassment continue to benefit from Nadine Dorries’ silence and continue to put me and my family at risk with anonymous claims of stalking published alongside my home address. Regardless of what Dorries thinks of me personally, she cannot excuse giving tacit approval to vigilantes like Charlie Flowers. Further, if she is telling the truth about her report, she is withholding information that would help me draw together an effective case against the people attacking me in this way. [xx snip detail xx]
There is no legal obstacle I’m aware of that would prevent Nadine Dorries from informing me of the name of the officer (or at least the department/station) she reported this matter to. Unless he was lying about having reported it, obviously, in which case her best bet (and yours) would be to refuse to answer any questions about it and yell ‘stalker’ at me if I dare press the matter.
Please advise me today of your intentions regarding this matter.
I have not yet heard back from the Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Association, and similarly you have shared nothing useful with me, when you seem to be witholding evidence that might establish (and thereby halt/minimise) the harassment targeting me, and even appear at times to be taking active measures to exacerbate this ongoing problem (while claiming all the while that it is you who are the true victim of harassment)
If you’ll pardon the vernacular; just what in the bloody hell are you playing at?
You are quite aware of the danger you expose me to when you cry ‘stalker’, and rather than address/minimise the danger you appear to be going out of your way to maximise it (by the very act of accusing me of being a danger to you).
That you would defame me, especially in this way, is a disgrace. You have no credible case to put to the police (who would have contacted me long before now if matters were anywhere near as serious as you make out), and instead you seek to air wholly unsubtantiated statements about my being guilty of stalking you… and capable of worse!
Regardless of what you believe, there can be no excuse for your repeated airings of these statements when you know how certain vigilante elements are reacting to them.
In closing, I will repeat my demand that you cease any further suggestion or assertion that I have a violent, criminal character immediately.
If you cannot understand the relevant moral and legal imperatives – that apply regardless of which constituency I live in – then please have someone explain them to you (and by that, I mean someone other than Donal Blaney).
Also, if you seriously claim to have received hundreds of abusive emails sent by me or in my name, then please honour my FOI/DPA request and share this and other relevant data with me. I would happily help you to trace/identify the source of these hundreds of emails, regardless of potential outcome (all I know for sure is that they are not coming from me).
Please acknowledge receipt of this email immediately, and reply soonest.
PS – I just saw you turn your back on the Speaker. Class act. You’re a credit to democracy.
[*Note how more than a month passes between these urgent requests. I was very concerned about how Dorries might misrepresent multiple attempts to contact her. Surprise, surprise, she went ahead and misrepresented these few emails as a “barrage” anyway.]
[**The claim that Dominic Wightman convinced Glen Jenvey I was a convicted paedophile has been published previous to this, but I now have further evidence to support that assertion, which is why it is stronger in this (now public) letter. I repeat this and all other relevant/tangential assertions here, in public, with confidence. Dominic Wightman has published an account where he described giving drunken residents in my village a tour of my street to see the front door of “the biggest nutter, stalker on the web”, and he makes similar dubious claims to Dorries about ‘advice’ he has received from police. The ‘Cheerleaders’ also claim to have enjoyed positive exchanges with police, extending at one stage to the quite false assertion that I have “37 retraint orders” (sic) against me. For the record; I have no restraint orders against me. Acting mostly as a bankrupt and/or beyond the reach of affordable civil action, Wightman has published a series of false claims about me, some of which he is merely confused about, but most of which he knows to be outright lies. His willingness to knowingly lie should be balanced with his claim to have contacted Iain Dale and his claim to have received positive communication from a large number of unnamed Tory bloggers about this matter, but the overlap in tactics and the similarity of claims/inventions from the two camps cannot be denied; the two camps are clearly communicating to some degree, even if they are only responding to what the other says or does in public.]