Nadine Dorries is facing a plan to oust her from the Commons almost two months after she announced she was standing down as a Conservative MP “with immediate effect”.
The former cabinet minister and Boris Johnson loyalist has yet to formally vacate her seat, and despite there being no date in the calendar for a by-election, even her own party is already campaigning in the race to replace her.
Labour MP Sir Chris Bryant, who is chair of the Commons committee on standards, wants to have a vote requiring Ms Dorries to appear in parliament under a rule dating back to 1801 which states that “no member do presume to go out of town without leave of this House”.
Politics latest: Could migrants be sent to isolated volcanic island?
He added that he would like to see this apply to anyone who did not turn up to the House for six months – the official record shows the last time Ms Dorries spoke in the chamber of the House of Commons was on 7 July 2022; the last time she voted was in April 2023.
Failing to comply with the vote could amount to a contempt of parliament, for which Ms Dorries would face a sanction voted upon by MPs.
If this amounts to a suspension of more than 10 days, Ms Dorries’ Mid Bedfordshire constituents would be able to vote on whether they want an election to be held.
One council in her constituency has already called for her to step aside.
Ms Dorries announced her resignation earlier this summer after it was revealed she would not be getting ennobled in Mr Johnson’s resignation honours list, and accused Rishi Sunak of interfering in the process – something the prime minister denies.
However, she later said she wants to wait for more information about the rejection of the place in the House of Lords, which she claims she was blocked from getting.
Sir Chris cited the case of William Smith O’Brien, who was kept in a cell overnight in 1846 for refusing to appear as a member of a committee, as precedent.
The MP goes into further detail about his proposal in his new book, Code of Conduct: Why We Need to Fix Parliament – and How to Do It.
Any plans to hold a vote would need to wait until parliament returns from recess in early September.
Sir Chris said there’s “a hope” that by then Ms Dorries will “just resign” at that point instead.
This content is provided by Spreaker, which may be using cookies and other technologies.
You can use the buttons below to amend your preferences to enable Spreaker cookies or to allow those cookies just once.
You can change your settings at any time via the Privacy Options.
Unfortunately we have been unable to verify if you have consented to Spreaker cookies.
To view this content you can use the button below to allow Spreaker cookies for this session only.
When the prime minister’s official spokesman was asked about Sir Chris’s plan, they said: “I haven’t spoken to the prime minister on [the plan] specifically, I think it is first and foremost for constituents to make that judgment about whether their respective MPs are serving their constituencies well.”
A general election is expected to be held next year.
Ms Dorries has been approached for her response.
Written by: Newsroom