Culture minister says Tory sleaze-fest won't hurt Conservatives - and she’s probably right 2 months ago

Culture minister says Tory sleaze-fest won't hurt Conservatives - and she’s probably right

Nadine Dorries made the comments in a private WhatsApp group for Conservatives

Panic over accusations of corruption might be setting in for some Tory MPs but not for Cabinet Minister Nadine Dorries. 

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Late on Thursday evening, she said concerns that the “damage from last week” would “take a lot more than good words to repair” were “totally untrue”.

Speaking in a private WhatsApp group full of Conservative MPs, Dorries shot down her worried fellow Tory, George Freeman - reminding him the 2009 expenses scandal had been “a billion times worse” and they recovered just fine. 

As per Times Red Box, in a lengthy defence of the government, Dorries said it was "totally not true George, those of us who were here in 2009 know that isn’t the case. 

“The expenses scandal, which began the day of the European Elections campaign in 2009 and ended on the day of the ballot, was a billion times worse than last week.”

She added the Tories get more of a hammering than Labour in the papers, which actually worked to their benefit: "We dominated (mainly Tories, bcse [sic] the press always go harder on us) the front page of every single newspaper and news bulletin for five whole weeks"

Dorries said “half a dozen MPs were banged into prison” and “one year later, almost to the day, we monstered Labour in the local elections and David Cameron became PM breaking 13 years of Labour domination”.

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And well... she’s not wrong.

In 2013 it was revealed she was paying her daughters £75,000 per year of taxpayer money to work in her office. 

She was also forced to repay over £3,000 in travel expenses having accepted her claims on the taxpayer were "wrongfully made and should not have been allowed”

Despite all that hubris, Dorries is now culture secretary in a Conservative government with a huge majority. 

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Meanwhile, Labour have been polling up during the anti-sleaze debate but it doesn’t seem to be anything to do with the actions of leader Sir Keir Starmer. 

During a week marred by accusations of sleaze and corruption, an IpsosMORI poll for The Evening Standard found Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson's personal ratings have plummeted to their lowest ever since he entered Number 10 in 2019. 

The poll also found a mere 25 per cent of adults polled believe Starmer has what it takes to make a good prime minister, with nearly half of voters expressing dissatisfaction with the current Labour leader.

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Starmer was self-isolating when the scandal first erupted last week, having tested positive for covid. 

It has been pointed out that Labour only gain in the polls when Starmer’s not around.

A second poll released on Thursday, this time from Redfield and Wilson Strategies, confirmed Labour are polling ahead of the Tories.

The survey found 38 per cent of those polled would vote Labour if there was an upcoming election and 36 per cent would vote Conservative.

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However, aside from a statement marking Remembrance Day, Labour leader Starmer has been uncharacteristically quiet.

He has been absent from the public conversation on Tory sleaze since a rather awkward interview with Sky News' Sam Coates on Monday where he failed to deny he had been in talks with law firm Mishcon de Reya to take a consultancy role in 2017.

If true, the discussions could raise questions of hypocrisy for the party. Labour’s current policy is that MPs should not carry out paid consultancy work.

On the Tories - Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said it would be for the voters to decide if their MP should face repercussion over allegations of sleaze.

With another election not expected until 2024, it's quite possible voters will have forgotten all about it.