Nadine Dorries formally quits as Tory MP more than two months after announcing plans to resign with 'immediate effect'

29 August 2023, 10:23 | Updated: 29 August 2023, 11:13

Nadine Dorries has formally quit as MP nearly three months after announcing her intentions to resign.
Nadine Dorries has formally quit as MP nearly three months after announcing her intentions to resign. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Nadine Dorries has formally resigned as a Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire more than 10 weeks after announcing her plans to quit.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The former culture secretary handed in her resignation, nearly three months after saying she would.

It comes after the Treasury confirmed that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has appointed her to be Steward and Bailiff of the Three Hundreds of Chiltern.

Ms Dorries initially announced her plans to step down with "immediate effect" on July 9 in response to not getting a peerage in Boris Johnson's resignation honours list.

Under tradition, MPs are appointed to a new position when resigning from the Commons rather than quitting outright.

Ms Dorries finally handed in her resignation over the weekend, meaning a by-election is imminent for her former constituency in Mid Bedfordshire.

Her resignation means when Parliament returns on September 4 they will have between 21 and 27 working days to hold the by-election, meaning it is anticipated to take place sometime in October.

The former culture secretary’s seat is expected to be eagerly sought after, as both the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats have already started campaigning for the seat.

However, campaginers have called on the opposition leaders to form a “non-aggression” pact to decide who has the best chance of winning the seat against the Tories, amid fears they could split the vote.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces another difficult electoral test in Mid Bedfordshire, which is typically considered a safe Conservative seat as it follows last month’s by-elections after three MPs stepped down amid separate controversies.

Read more: Drivers offer residents of ULEZ-free road ‘£100 a month’ to use their driveways in bid to dodge fees

Read more: 'It’s not about air quality, it’s about raising money!': Transport Secretary slams Sadiq Khan's divisive Ulez expansion

Nadine Dorries formally handed in her resignation over the bank holiday weekend.
Nadine Dorries formally handed in her resignation over the bank holiday weekend. Picture: Alamy

Former PM Boris Johnson - MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip - said he would be stepping down following the findings of a Privileges Committee report investigating whether he lied to Parliament about Partygate.

MP for Selby and Ainsty Nigel Adams, who was a close ally of Mr Johnson's, confirmed he would be stepping down a day later.

The third by-election took place in Somerton and Frome after MP David Warburton admitted taking cocaine.

In Selby and Ainsty, Labour took the majority, while the Lib Dems took the seat in Somerton and Frome.

The Conservatives managed to keep their hold on Uxbridge and South Ruislip - a fact which some senior Tories have chalked up to local opposition to Sadiq Khan's Ulez expansion.

Campaigning for the seat on previous visits to the constituency, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: "The people of Mid Bedfordshire have been taken for granted for too long.

"From not being able to see a GP to having an absent MP, it's clear this part of the world has been completely ignored by the Conservatives.

"People across Bedfordshire should be able to get an appointment with their doctor when they need it - instead we have a Government that just can't get the basics right.

"The Liberal Democrats are the clear challengers in this by-election, every vote for our local champion Emma Holland-Lindsay will be a vote to send a message to the Conservatives that enough is enough."

Ms Dorries criticised Rishi Sunak in her resignation letter.
Ms Dorries criticised Rishi Sunak in her resignation letter. Picture: Alamy

Labour's candidate Alistair Strathern also campaigned over the bank holiday weekend.

Despite announcing her intentions to quit in June, Ms Dorries held off from formally resigning for nearly three months.

She has faced continued pressure from her constituents to officially quit, as residents said they “desperately” needed effective representation.

Handing in her resignation over the bank holiday weekend, Ms Dorries launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

In her resignation letter, the former MP wrote to Mr Sunak: “You have no mandate from the people, and the government is adrift. You have squandered the goodwill of the nation, for what?”

However, some senior Tories hit back at Ms Dorries, labelling her accusations "absurd".

The parties contesting the Mid Bedfordshire seat will need to overturn Ms Dorries’ 24,000 majority.