Nadine Dorries has announced she is quitting as a Tory MP, triggering a by-election.
In a tweet on Friday afternoon, the former Cabinet minister and MP for Mid Bedfordshire announced she was standing down with “immediate effect”.
“It has been an honour to serve as the MP for such a wonderful constituency but it is now time for another to take the reins,” she said.
It came just hours before she was dropped from former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list, which included other friends and loyalists such as Priti Patel, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Andrea Jenkyns.
Explaining her decision on TalkTV, Ms Dorries insisted that she had not wanted to cause a by-election but that “something significant” had happened to change her mind.
She cited her workload as a reason for stepping down, saying that she was struggling to manage her duties as an MP alongside writing her weekly column in the Daily Mail and presenting a show on TalkTV.
Ms Dorries has been a key ally of Mr Johnson since serving in his Government as culture minister and consistently argued his dismissal was unfair.
The former prime minister’s long-awaited list consists of around 50 names and includes several former Cabinet ministers in his Government as well as parliamentary hairdresser Kelly Jo Dodge and Mayor of London candidate Shaun Bailey.
Ms Dorries insisted that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did not have the power to block Mr Johnson’s appointments.
“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.”
In other developments, health minister Will Quince announced he would step down at the next General Election.
He said the demands of his role as a minister and MP meant he had “neglected the most important job I have, being a good dad to two young girls”.
Ms Dorries left frontline politics after Liz Truss became Prime Minister in October last year.
The decision means there will be a by-election in Ms Dorries’ Mid Bedfordshire constituency, where she has a majority of 24,664.
She won 60 per cent of the vote in the constituency at the 2019 general election, well ahead of Labour in second place on 22 per cent.
Labour would need a swing of at least 19.1 per cent to take the seat from the Conservatives – the sort of swing the party has not achieved in a by-election since 1996.
Ms Dorries, who has been an MP since 2005, has been a vocal critic of Mr Sunak’s Government since he entered No 10 and is set to release a book on the downfall of former prime minister Mr Johnson.
Her promotion to culture secretary under Mr Johnson’s leadership saw her lead the now-ditched plan to privatise Channel 4.
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!
Other key allies of Mr Johnson including Sir Alok Sharma, president of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, were dropped from the list.
Both he and Ms Dorries were expected to stand down to take peerages, which leaves Mr Sunak facing two early electoral battles in their seats.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refused to comment on Friday when asked about his predecessor’s submission.
Ms Truss, despite being the shortest serving prime minister in modern British political history, has also reportedly submitted a short resignation honours list.