Nadine Dorries has announced she will stand down as an MP with “immediate effect”, triggering a by-election in her seat.
I have today informed the chief whip that I am standing down as the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, with immediate effect.
It has been an honour to serve as the MP for such a wonderful constituency but it is now time for someone younger to take the reins.
— Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP (@NadineDorries) June 9, 2023
Dorries, who has been a frequent critic of Rishi Sunak since he took office last autumn, had earlier told TalkTV that “the last thing I would want to do would be to cause a by-election” in her seat.
But speaking to the broadcaster after the announcement, she admitted that “something significant did happen to change my mind”.
“The bottom line is really, I’m doing my own show on TalkTV and I write a column in the Daily Mail every Tuesday, which takes a lot more time than I ever thought it would do,” she told TalkTV.
“It’s actually hard work.
“I’ve been working like seven days a week and I’m also managing these outside jobs as well as my role as an MP.
“And the House of Lords thing was on the cards and it’s gone back to Holac (House of Lords Appointments Commission) for MPs to be vetted or whatever and I just thought, you know, I think this is the time actually for me to stand down.”
Dorries has been the MP for Mid Bedfordshire since 2005 and has a majority of 24,664.
But the Lib Dems will hope to snatch the seat off the Tories at the by-election, given the party’s recent record of overturning big Conservative majorities.
A Lib Dem spokesperson said: “This is a rural seat in the heart of the blue wall, we are in it to win it.”
There has been months-long speculation that Dorries was to be handed a peerage in Johnson’s resignation honours list.
Her promotion to culture secretary under Johnson’s leadership saw her lead the now-ditched plan to privatise Channel 4.
Dorries also appeared to issue a coded warning to Sunak, whom many allies of the former prime minister blame for his downfall.
She said: “A prime minister doesn’t have the ability to change the list of a former prime minister. The list that Boris had was agreed with Rishi and that was done.
“Can you imagine if Rishi suddenly decided ‘I am going to remove somebody from Boris’ list?’
“He would be setting a precedent that has never been set before.
“A prime minister doesn’t do that. They’d be a very foolish prime minister who tampered with the list of a former prime minister because he’d end up not getting his own nominations through.”
She was no stranger to controversy during her time in parliament, losing the Conservative whip in 2013 as a result of her appearance on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!