The good people at the Telegraph have just reported the following:
Telegraph – MPs’ expenses: Nadine Dorries paid £35,000 to close friend in PR: Between September 2008 and June 2009, Mrs Dorries claimed £34,059.75 for the services of the company Marketing Management (Midlands) Ltd. Miss Dorries claimed under her office allowance, her staffing expenditure and her communications allowance to pay the public relations company. The first fund is used by MPs to pay for the running costs of their constituency and Commons bases; the second to pay the wages of permanent and temporary workers; and the third to run websites or produce adverts and leaflets. The invoices show it was paid for “PR, research and media services”. Companies House documents disclose that one of the two directors of Marketing Management is Lynn Elson, who lives near the Cotswolds town of Moreton-in-Marsh. In the past year, Mrs Dorries has written on her personal blog and her Twitter page about visiting the town and a nearby country pub. Her website is illustrated with a selection of six photographs, some showing her as a young girl and as an MP speaking in the House of Commons. Two of the pictures show the Tory MP with Mrs Elson: one in a group shot with two other women holding glasses of wine, and one with Mrs Dorries and her daughters dressed in evening wear.
Just to reinforce that last point, here is a specific entry on Nadine’s ‘blog’ that includes a mention and photo of Lynn.
Now, don’t be thrown off by the fact that this next item is also on the Telegraph site; that in itself is of no significance and this whole post should probably be filed under ‘added colour’ anyway… I just wanted to show you this response from Lynn Elson to a review of the restaurant in the ‘Horse & Groom’. This pub is referenced on Dorries’ blog as her ‘local’, and the two friends obviously enjoy the odd party/drink together, so I want to make it clear that I’m not implying that this is what Lynn classifies as ‘PR*’, rather I merely wish to invite those who have experienced or witnessed a Dorries ‘rebuttal’ to gaze in wonder at this intervention by her friend Elson and count the many boxes it ticks.
(NOTE – You may spot a subtle indication of her own personal politics as you evaluate Elson’s style of engagement.)
I would like to respond to Mark Palmer’s review of the Horse and Groom, Bourton on the Hill, Gloucestershire, which happens to be my ‘local’. Firstly, they do not wrap the cutlery in napkins, but lay knives and forks on top of the napkin at the table – this is a pub not a restaurant. I reply to Palmer’s comments about the Horse and Groom straining to be ‘a little bit of everything but not quite managing to be anything in particular'; in actuality it manages to be a very good ‘local’ pub which serves excellent food, wine and beer and is very popular amongst discerning diners who live locally. Mark Palmer’s haughty tone showed him to be a pompous, pretentious Londoner, and frankly we don’t want his type spoiling the agreeable ambience of our lovely Cotswold pubs. The staff is always welcoming and friendly; no they didn’t all train at Butler School, but they are charming and chatty which is perfect for a relaxed lunch or informal dinner. Perhaps Mark Palmer should stick to eating in fancy London restaurants if it’s silver service and forelock tugging he’s after. In eco-friendly times, what’s wrong with having the menu on the blackboard therefore saving a few trees? – It’s a common practice throughout a lot of Cotswolds pubs. What did he expect – a gold leaf menu? I say again – this is a pub! His mocking comments on ‘the wall poem about village life by John Betjeman, a print of a gentleman cricketer and notices on the back of the door that you might find inside the porch of a lively parish church that runs Alpha courses on Monday nights’ is because the pub is at the heart of village life and not a theme park for self-important Londoners. As for his condescending comments about ‘a group of thirtysomethings having a black-tie celebration’ which he felt inappropriate just shows how anal he really is. How dare he sit and judge a group of people who for their own personal reasons have chosen to add a bit of fun to an outing – we are easy going enough in the countryside to break the rules of the conceited liberal elite who dictate to the affected likes of Mark Palmer what he should wear and when. He has obviously reviewed McDonald’s at some point as he made a comparison to their chips – who would have thought he’d lower himself to enter such an establishment? He was clearly dining in matching caustic company, as his companion Joanna added her own sneering comment about the red cabbage – what is she a red cabbage connoisseur? It’s a shame her life is not more interesting. Mark Palmer would do better sticking to ostentatious London restaurants, filling his face with showy food and deferential silvers service waiters at his beck and call. That way, he will satisfy his appetite for his high opinion of himself as a food aficionado and keep our lovely local Cotswold pub free of anal Londoners.
Bloody glorious, isn’t it? I challenge anyone to spot the difference between this and your typical full-frontal outburst from Dorries. It even manages to blame Teh Left in correspondence about a restaurant review.
[*If I were to speculate on the possibility that this was part of a formal PR exercise, I would further speculate that the party of black tie diners may have been part of a pathetic attempt to fill/class the joint up a bit for the expected visit from the restaurant reviewer… and that Lynn may have had good cause to take the reviewer’s comment about this group personally after going to all that effort to show off for the townies.]
UPDATE for readers in 2011 and beyond; some related links about all the lovely money Nadine has paid to her friend Lynn…