LONDON – Former British culture secretary Nadine Dorries savaged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in an excoriating resignation letter, as she finally quit her parliamentary seat, weeks after first saying she would do so.
Ms Dorries, an ally of ex-premier Boris Johnson who blames Mr Sunak for his ouster last year, lashed out at the prime minister in a letter published online by the Daily Mail late on Saturday, saying he had “no mandate” to lead the country and “no plan” to run it.
She also said Mr Sunak lacks the “winning X-factor qualities” of Mr Johnson, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair – a line that preys on Conservative Party fears ahead of a general election expected in 2024.
“Since you took office a year ago, the country is run by a zombie Parliament where nothing meaningful has happened,” Ms Dorries wrote.
“Your actions have left some 200 or more of my MP colleagues to face an electoral tsunami and the loss of their livelihoods, because in your impatience to become prime minister you put your personal ambition above the stability of the country and our economy.”
Mr Sunak’s office declined to comment.
While Ms Dorries’ antipathy towards Mr Sunak was well known, her tone will do little to help the prime minister as he seeks to restore Tory fortunes and catch Mr Keir Starmer’s opposition Labour Party, who lead by about 20 points in recent polls.
Her letter is also a stark reminder that the governing Conservatives are far from united, and while Mr Johnson’s power has significantly waned, there are factions who have no qualms about making trouble for the administration.
On the flip side, Ms Dorries’ departure will likely come as a relief. She had said as far back as June that she was resigning with immediate effect – an announcement that came after it emerged she had been denied a peerage recommended by Mr Johnson, a decision she also blamed on Mr Sunak.
But whereas Mr Johnson and another ally, Mr Nigel Adams, quit Parliament at the same time, Ms Dorries stayed on. Her ongoing status as an MP riled even Conservatives, who feared she had come to represent a broader dysfunction. Councils in her district complained she was not representing her constituents, and the press pointed out she had not spoken in the House of Commons for months.
“At the moment, people aren’t being properly represented” in Mid Bedfordshire, Mr Sunak said on Aug 2, in response to a question from a listener in a radio call-in.
Ms Dorries hit out at that intervention in her letter, accusing him of “demeaning his office by opening the gates to whip up a public frenzy against one of his own MPs.”
She said she would submit her official resignation to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Jeremy Hunt, on Saturday, triggering the process to replace her when Parliament returns from its summer recess on Sept 4.
https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/boris-johnson-ally-quits-uk-parliament-with-scathing-attack-on-pm-rishi-sunak Boris Johnson ally quits UK Parliament with scathing attack on PM Rishi Sunak