This entry was posted on
Thursday, October 21st, 2010 at
1:58 pm and is filed
under Tories! Tories! Tories!.
As I originally blogged back in 2009, the primary issue with Nadine Dorries and her accommodation expenses claims was her changing her story mid-stream about where her second home was. Today we are assured by her closest political allies that she has been ‘completely cleared’ by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Iain Dale offers a typical example in that he relies entirely on a press release from Nadine Dorries, and does not even link to the relevant report, because he is ‘too busy’. Some cynics might dare to suggest that this is because the detail is damning.
Standards and Privileges Committee Report – Nadine Dorries (PDF)
[note: linking to this took less than 30 seconds]
Upon reading this report, one cannot escape the conclusion that Nadine Dorries has had to admit to being a liar in order to avoid a charge of monetary corruption.
Further, the evidence that ‘clears’ Dorries comes to us from that same liar.
It’s not too much detail (come on, Iain, you can do this), so let me walk you through the highlights with the promise of a comedy payoff:
1. Nadine Dorries had to explain the conflict between (a) her claim to the authorities/Commissioner that her constituency home was her second home, and (b) the many entries on her blog portraying her constituency home as her main home.
To do this, she had to say that he had lied her constituents on this point and many others, and the relevant passage includes a quote that is going to haunt Nadine Dorries for a long time to come:
My blog is 70% fiction and 30% fact. It is written as a tool to enable my constituents to know me better and to reassure them of my commitment to Mid Bedfordshire. I rely heavily on poetic licence and frequently replace one place name/event/fact with another. – Letter to the Commissioner from Ms Nadine Dorries MP, 1 March 2010
Basically, Dorries says she sought to reassure her constituents about her commitment to Mid Bedfordshire by knowingly misleading them about how much time she spent there. But Dorries even had the audacity to object to the Commissioner arriving at this same conclusion. She wanted this passage removed or amended:
167. Ms Dorries’ evidence to me was also inconsistent with statements she had previously made on her weblog and in the press, where she seemed to go out of her way to emphasise that she lived in the constituency… the weblog gave information to its readers, including Ms Dorries’ constituents and party supporters, which provided a misleading impression of her arrangements as the Member of Parliament for the constituency. – Appendix 1: Memorandum from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
This MP has repeatedly used her blog to attack her critics using accusations that are entirely reliant upon her statements; i.e. where the only evidence she presents is her account of what happened where and when… the same stuff she so breezily admits is “70% fiction and 30% fact”!
So when she attacks a constituent disabled by arthritis and maintains this person is faking it because she “stormed around the hall” (more), we now have to consider that the word ‘stormed’ may not be an accurate description, or even an honestly-held opinion, but instead the result of “poetic licence”.
2. Nadine Dorries had to account for testimony from neighbours that contradicted her account to the authorities/Commissioner (i.e. about the frequency of overnight stays at her constituency home).
Dorries complains bitterly about how long this investigation took, but one of the aspects that caused most of the delays was a series of attacks aimed at one of her neighbours that the Commissioner ruled to be irrelevant (and this is a move that’s going to seem grimly predictable to those who know how this MP operates):
170. My inquiries were also complicated and extended by Ms Dorries’ criticism of the one witness who gave evidence against her…. I regret the tone and intensity of some of Ms Dorries’ comments on the witness (not all of which I have included in the published evidence) and her attempts to persuade me not to consider that evidence… I do not believe it would have been just or fair to have taken the action suggested by Ms Dorries and refused to have accepted that neighbour’s evidence on account of the fact that he had discussed it with a newspaper reporter. – Appendix 1: Memorandum from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
Dorries said this evidence should have been rejected for another reason, too. Comedy payoff pending. Stand by.
3. Nadine Dorries had to provide evidence that she stayed more nights in what she described as her main home than she did in her constituency home.
This is the other part that caused the delay; there was (to put it kindly) some difficulty in extracting from this MP a consistent account of where she stayed most nights:
176. I am disappointed Ms Dorries took as long as she did in providing me with consistent evidence to enable me to resolve this complaint… – Appendix 1: Memorandum from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
It wasn’t until 25 January 2010 that Dorries provided evidence establishing that she had spent the majority of nights in what she claimed was her main home. I urge you to follow the source link on this one to check the back-and-forth detail and the account she finally settled on for yourself, but the most telling part of it appears to be this note, under the final revision:
Ms Dorries said that the revised information for 2008-09 had been based on “closer examination of my 08-09 diary” and that the figures for other years had been revised to include nights she had spent in London. – Nadine Dorries MP: Schedule of overnight stays from 1 February 2007 (Revised version)
The Green Book states quite clearly that “Claims must be supported by documentary evidence, except where the House has agreed that such evidence is not necessary.”
In this instance, the Committee and Commissioner have agreed that the
account repeatedly revised account of a self-confessed liar will serve in place of documentary evidence.
Some might think that’s not good enough. Some might think that the Commissioner should at least think twice before accepting the word of a liar.
Comedy payoff time… Nadine Dorries agrees:
I am aware that it is impossible for you to reasonably believe [neighbour 1] and disregard the consistent information provided by others and you may think I am over reacting to the evidence sent by [neighbour 1], however, that is not the point. I strongly object to lies being given any consideration whatsoever. – Letter to the Commissioner from Ms Nadine Dorries MP, 6 July 2010
I take your point that his evidence will be balanced out against others, however, his evidence is a lie and I feel very, very strongly that a malicious person who has lied should [not] be given any consideration whatsoever. – Letter to the Commissioner from Ms Nadine Dorries MP, 27 July 2010
(I had to tie up the second botched sentence with a missing ‘not’, but her intended meaning is clear, and I do not think the correction is unfair or in error.)
Nadine Dorries, who admits to lying about where she stayed and when, does not think the testimony of a liar should be accepted by the Commissioner… who then clears her on the basis of her much-revised account of where she stayed and when.
Nadine Dorries is a corrupt liar. Let her sue me if she is to maintain otherwise.
By Pete Connolly October 21, 2010 - 2:45 pm
"I often made comments on my blog in order to deliberately give the impression that I lived in the constituency. Because I didn't in fact live in the constituency, I probably went over the top." – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011…
This is a woman who expects to be referred to as 'The Honourable"? What a dreadful person.
By mshumphreycushion October 21, 2010 - 3:02 pm
I am interested to see her travel claims for that period, if as she says, she spent most of her time in the Cotswolds, there will be very few Thameslink train ticket claims..
( p.s.. I know its legal to leave a 15 year old alone but all week so she can attend her Bedforshire school whilst you live miles away? )
By Mike October 21, 2010 - 3:59 pm
From my reading of her complex exchanges with the commissioner, her daughter stayed with Nadine in her Main home, and was driven back and forth to the school in the constituency and only spend a few hours in the constituency home each day after school.
I care not a jot for her personal life and arrangements, but I cannot fathom the reason you’d send someone to school over an hours drive away unless you were spending a lot of time near the school, in which case why the all the driving back to your main home just to sleep?
Since we now know that the *majority* of her statements on her living arrangements are pure fiction, I doubt any rationalising those statements is ever going to work. Unless that 70% fiction statement was in itself a fiction…
By Stephen October 21, 2010 - 9:51 pm
Those preferring the pdf version of the report will need this link http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011…
By Tim_Ireland October 21, 2010 - 9:25 pm
Thanks, Stephen. I updated the post with a link to that earlier, but it is a bit teeny.
By @Rolo_Tamasi October 21, 2010 - 10:46 pm
Normally if a witness is shown to be lying then all her evidence is discredited. Maybe Nadine was just choosing between lies rather between truth and lies?