Who is Nadine Dorries? Ex-MP releases new book The Plot about Boris Johnson - what does it say?

Nadine Dorries' new book The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson claims a shadowy cabal of fixers and advisers brought down the former PM, spearheaded by a mysterious man known as Dr No.

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Nadine Dorries’ book The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson is set to be one of the most explosive political releases of the year.

In it, the former Culture Secretary claims a shadowy cabal of fixers and advisers brought down the former Prime Minister, who resigned after the Chris Pincher scandal. She says this is spearheaded by a mysterious man, known only as Dr No, who reportedly once hammered a dead rabbit to someone’s door and uses dirty dossiers to get his way.

Dorries has accused the Cabinet Office of trying to block the 9 November release after she refused to share a copy with the department. Under the Radcliffe rules, ministers should relinquish all government material when ceasing to hold a role.

Former ministers intending to publish memoirs are also required to “submit the draft manuscript in good time before publication to the Cabinet Secretary.” But Dorries said her book “not a memoir in any remote sense of the word and has zero to do with policy or official secrets”.

She said she did not want to share a transcript on the grounds that Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – who is criticised in the book – would have the power to vet its contents, the Mail has reported. After receiving legal advice, she refused to do so, Dorries said. A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “This book was not submitted to the Cabinet Office for review, and so the author is in breach of the Radcliffe Rules.”

Nadine Dorries. Credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty ImagesNadine Dorries. Credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images
Nadine Dorries. Credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

What does the book say?

The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson is about the former Prime Minister’s resignation last year, after a series of scandals had battered his premiership. The final blow was the revelation that Johnson made Chris Pincher the deputy chief whip, despite being told about complaints against him over sexual misconduct. This caused a slew of ministers to resign, eventually bringing about the downfall of his government.

However Dorries alleges that there was an organised plot to bring down Johnson. Harper Collins says: “The Plot is the seismic, fly-on-the-wall account of how the saviour of the Conservative Party became a pariah. Told with unparalleled access, from multiple inside sources talking with astonishing candour, it reveals the shocking truth about powerful forces operating behind the scenes in the heart of Westminster and those who became the architects of a Prime Minister’s downfall.

“This is the story of a damning trail of treachery and deceit fuelled by an obsessive pursuit of power, which threatens to topple the very fabric of our democracy.” While the book isn’t out until 9 November, the Daily Mail is serialising it from 4 November - so we will find out more details then. However, so far the Mail has revealed that Dorries claims a “sinister cabal” of ministers, advisers and fixers arranged Johnson’s downfall.

Central to the plot, Dorries says, is a fixer who she only refers to as Dr No - the name of a James Bond villain. This mysterious figure has worked for the Tories since the 1990s, and has been part of every Conservative government since then. 

Nadine Dorries and Boris Johnson. Credit: GettyNadine Dorries and Boris Johnson. Credit: Getty
Nadine Dorries and Boris Johnson. Credit: Getty

The Mail reports that Dorries writes: “He is paid by Central Office, has a pass to No 10 and, some say, Rishi Sunak doesn't move without first seeking his advice. And yet people can spend years working in No 10 and never hear his name mentioned.”

She claims that when a girlfriend ended a relationship, Dr No took her brother’s pet rabbit, chopped it into four pieces and nailed it to the front door of the family home “in true Mafia style”. Dorries says that Dr No moves in the shadows. She claims hardly anyone recognises him, and only a handful of people are able to point him out.

Dorries claims that Dr No uses “dirty dossiers” to take people down, and reportedly put one together on Liz Truss. He apparently showed it to Sunak, who told him not to use it. Dorries writes: “But Dr No ignored him, because Rishi wasn't in charge, they were. Then, when the dossier was considered so appalling that the Press didn't use it, it was texted to a journalist that 'we're keeping this ammunition for use at a later date.”

Dorries was mocked by Dominic Cummings over claims he secretly worked to topple Johnson as soon as he became Prime Minister, by planting false and negative stories about him. Johnson’s former chief adviser-turned-critic shared a screenshot on X appearing to show his response to a journalist asking him for a response to the allegations.

“She’s right, there was a giant conspiracy including MI6, the CIA and, most crucially, the KGB special operations department,” he said. “It’s a tribute to Nadine she has figured this out.”

Who is Nadine Dorries?

The 66-year-old is a former Conservative MP and Cabinet minister, who resigned earlier in the year. Dorries grew up in a working class family in Liverpool, living in Anfield, Halewood and Runcorn. She trained as a nurse, and founded Company Kids Ltd which provided childcare for working parents.

In 2005, she was selected as the Conservative candidate for Mid Bedfordshire. She said: “I was informed that I had been selected outright on the first ballot ... That pride, that sense of achievement, the knowledge that I was selected on the basis of my performance and merit above all other candidates on that day is what enables me to hold my head up high in this place.” She was elected with a majority of 11,355.

In 2009, as part of its investigation into MPs’ expenses, the Daily Telegraph questioned whether Dorries should have been able to claim £24,222 as “secondary” housing costs on her constituency home. She described the stories as like McCarthyite witch hunts. She was under investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, the police and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority over her expenses for several years.

She clashed with then Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, saying they were “two arrogant posh boys”. She lost the whip in 2012 for appearing on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here, but was the first contestant to be voted off. She had the whip reinstated a year later.

Dorries has employed her daughter Jennifer since 2013. IPSA’s latest figures, which cover from 2021-22, state she  was paid between £45,000 and £49,999 a year. Her sister also worked for her as an office secretary. In response to an enquiry by the Mirror’s Ben Glaze, Dorries tweeted: “Be seen within a mile of my daughters and I will nail your balls to the floor... using your own front teeth. Do you get that?”

She joined the front bench under Boris Johnson as Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, and in 2021 became Culture, Media and Sport Secretary. She attempted to push ahead with privatising Channel 4 despite strong opposition, incorrectly claiming that it was tax-payer funded when it is paid for by advertising. She also got rugby league and rugby union confused, saying she loved Jonny Wilkinson’s winning drop goal in 2003 and a rugby league world cup event.

As well as The Plot, Dorries writes fiction books. Her first novel The Four Streets was about growing up Catholic in Liverpool. Christopher Howse of the Daily Telegraph said it was “the worst novel I’ve read in 10 years”. According to Parliamentary records, Dorries would spend 12 hours a week writing books while Culture Secretary - and since January 2020 has earned more than £150,000.

Labour's Alistair Strathern celebrates after winning the Mid Bedfordshire by-election. Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.Labour's Alistair Strathern celebrates after winning the Mid Bedfordshire by-election. Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.
Labour's Alistair Strathern celebrates after winning the Mid Bedfordshire by-election. Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Why did she resign?

Dorries initially said she would resign in June, after not being granted a peerage. She was on the initial honours list Boris Johnson submitted to government, however neither she nor Nigel Adams were named peers as they were both MPs when the list was submitted. 

Dorries claimed Rishi Sunak had blocked her peerage and submitted subject access requests about the decision. She was reported to the chief whip and House of Commons speaker after reportedly sending “forceful” emails to the government over not being made a peer.

Despite promising to resign in June, it took until the end of August for her to formally stand down. She said that the Prime Minister has presided over a “zombie Parliament” in a stinging resignation letter, adding: "What exactly has been done or have you achieved? You hold the office of Prime Minister unelected, without a single vote, not even from your own MPs."

At the time of her resignation, Dorries had not spoken in the House of Commons for more than a year, she had only mentioned her constituency name once in the chamber since the 2019 election, and no longer had a constituency office. Even Rishi Sunak criticised her, saying: “At the moment people aren’t being properly represented.” 

In Mid Bedfordshire there was an almost universal desire for Dorries to quit, with one woman telling NationalWorld: “It’s an illusion we have an MP - she doesn’t exist as far as we can tell.” Labour won the seat in a by-election for the first time in the constituency’s history, with Alistair Strathern becoming the new MP.

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