Posted Monday, 18 April 2016 at 15:09
I was about to write a blog about the statement made by George Osborne that Britain will be poorer outside of the EU. Setting aside his blatant opportunism, dishonesty and what is possibly his last salvo to resurrect his reputation and bid to be the next Prime Minister, let's look at the figures.
This is the easy bit as someone else has just done it.
Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator is a 'Remainer' and yet even he is incensed by George Osborne's statement.
Maybe that's because Osborne audaciously supposes that the British Public are a bunch of thick plebs who won't understand what he's saying anyway. That's what's done it for me.
Take it away Fraser...
Posted Friday, 8 April 2016 at 12:31
We all know the Government isn't neutral in the EU referendum debate. They are actively campaigning for us to Remain. But it is only just becoming clear how aggressively they are running that campaign and they are doing it with taxpayers' money.
We now know that £9 million has been spent on a leaflet praising the EU and describing why we should all be terrified of leaving it. That leaflet is being posted to every household in the country and you are footing the bill.
David Cameron describes this £9 million as 'money well spent'. According to my inbox very many of my constituents disagree. And they are right to be angry because the Government's spending breaches their own preferred watchdog's rules.
The European Commission for Democracy Through Law, similar to our own Electoral Commission, states that governments 'must not abuse their position...In any event, the use of public funds for campaigning purposes must be prohibited'. My emphasis, although the words couldn't really be any clearer.
I thought the ridiculously named 'BSE' campaign group for IN were well funded enough to send out leaflets making their case without relying on taxpayers. As the argument turns against them maybe they aren't drawing in the mega-bucks donations any more.
Posted Saturday, 26 March 2016 at 11:04
It would be impossible to match the excellence and eloquence of Stephen Fry when he deactivated his twitter account and described the platform as…
‘A stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous, who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and to be offended… It is a stagnant pool. Frothy with scum, clogged with weeds and littered with broken glass, sharp rocks and slimy rubbish.’
He was understating the case.
Twitter is a place where people lose their jobs, their dignity, their self-respect and, occasionally, their life.
After almost ten years on Twitter (so long I can’t remember) and with 28,000 followers, I have made my own modest exit.
I haven’t de activated my account and slammed the door, like Stephen Fry, I’ve tried that before. I once described Twitter as a sewer and was amazed to discover, it led the news on Sky TV.
This time I have left the door open, and a note on the mantelpiece with my forwarding address. For those interested in my views on politics, please pop next door to http://blog.dorries.org
If you are a friend or a reader of my books, I’m in the countryside, setting up a totally politics free Facebook account, which will be fully up and running over the Easter holidays.
Having been voted the best MP on twitter on a number of occasions, I have always taken pride in condensing my forthright views and announcing them to the world. After all, twitter was made for gobby scousers like me. But that was back then. When twitter was new and exciting. Before the self-righteous twitter mob arrived and squatted on the platform. Like-minded groups of people who only feel worthy or good if they can bully, deride or reduce others. And then, there are the sociopaths. There are a lot of those on Twitter.
My disenchantment first began when I received a tweet sent to me, which read, ‘I want to see you trapped in a burning car and watch as the flesh melts from your face.’
The author was a student at Oxford University. I decided not to prosecute. Surely, that had to be a one off? Sadly, it was just the beginning.
Twitter has become a place were stalkers mark their prey. They no longer push hand written notes through letterboxes or skulk under lampposts or in telephone boxes. Social media provides the bridge that enables the wavering stalker to cross into the very dark world, he may once have thought twice about before entering.
Two such people, of a different political leaning to me, used Twitter to cold contact pupils at my daughter’s school and asked them to secretly gather nuggets of personal information about her movements.
They wanted to post the information on Twitter to confuse and scare me. To make me mistrust my daughter’s friends and teachers. To make me fear for her safety.
I am an author as well as an MP. As a female politician, the misogynistic twitterati think it is offensive for me to write books in my spare time. It’s ok for the excellent and successful author and Labour MP, Alan Johnson, but not for me.
Apparently, for this crime, my dogs should die in a manner of ways.
Late one Thursday evening, as I left a Question Time studio in a northern location and headed to my hotel, the more deranged Twitter users were wondering how easy it would be to gain access to my room.
People take to Twitter to voice their outrage that as an MP paid for by the taxpayer, I should dare to write books in my free time. That I should be a full time MP.
I am full time MP. In the same way a taxpayer funded doctor, social worker, teacher or nurse is a full time employee. But that doesn’t stop any of us having a life outside of the job.
I can no longer interact on Twitter with my constituents or my readers. Anyone who tweets the mildest support for me finds that they themselves become targets of unprecedented abuse. This is a standard tactic of the Twitter mob, to bully and isolate.
My heart crunched when one of my severely disabled constituents, a young man I visited at his home, told me he cries when he reads some of the abusive comments that regularly pop up on my twitter feed. I told him not to look, but he does and I can’t stop him. But, I can stop tweeting.
He asked me, ‘why are people so unkind?’ They aren’t. It’s just that those who take pleasure in being unkind find easy gratification on Twitter.
There are men who have spent almost ten years of their life obsessed with what I say on Twitter. I say men but, if they don’t have a blue tick against their name we have no idea who they really are.
I imagine they’re sat in a bedroom in their mother’s house, hunched over a computer, tweeting their daily-misinformed comments and abuse. Encouraging others to tweet their own abuse and trying hard to whip up a Twitter storm against me.
The time has flown but the startling fact remains, they are doing today exactly what they were trying to do ten years ago. They are sinister. They are fixated, and that is truly frightening.
Twitter has become a room in which the seriously unwell meet, create an echo chamber, set their own rules and plan attacks. They distort and manipulate and their objective is to destroy people. Not just those in the public eye, but innocent bystanders too. And sometimes they destroy themselves.
Barbara Leyland was by day a perfectly respectable woman. By night, a Twitter troll sending vile messages to the parents of Madeline McCann. Confronted by Sky News reporters, she said she was entitled to behave in such a manner, just before she took her own life.
I’ve been accused on Twitter of buying fake followers, as if I even knew how and then I was informed they had been set up by one of my stalking, Twitter obsessives, in order to create a negative news story and therefore damage my reputation. And it worked.
Last weekend I woke and the sun was shining. The daffodils had burst into bloom in the garden and life felt good. The dogs jumped on the bed, my loved one brought me tea and as I sat up, I reached out my hand for my phone and checked my Twitter account.
Suddenly, the room was filled with the noise of a thousand people screaming their faux outrage and vitriolic abuse at me. I am scum. A thief, cheat and a disguising excuse for a human being. I’m corrupt, ugly and I should resign, from everything.
It was as if one person after another filed past the bedroom door and hurled in their 140 characters of scorn as they went. ‘Don’t look,’ friends comment. But, if you don’t look, what is the point of Twitter?
And that was when I decided to drag the suitcase down from the top of the wardrobe and to leave.
It may be one day that something fires me up so much; I may want to return, but on the basis that I won’t interact, engage or look.
I wonder whom the obsessives who Tweet about me constantly will turn on next? They have had ten years of me. Enough.
Mail on Sunday article
Posted Sunday, 6 March 2016 at 06:00
to read my column in today's Mail on Sunday
Britain Should Leave the EU
Posted Monday, 22 February 2016 at 14:53
I will be campaigning for Britain to leave the EU. I will be doing so because I believe in Britain. I think Britain is better than squalid backroom deals and the bland compromise of consensus between 28 countries squabbling for their share of a communal pot. I believe our potential is being held back, we are not cooperating with our European partners but being shackled to the consequences of their poor economic decisions. We went through a renegotiation of our terms of membership because the status quo wasn’t working. We got almost nothing and the status quo still isn’t working. Outside the EU, Great Britain will continue to trade with Europe, we will be free to trade more with other parts of the world, we will control our own borders, make our own laws and we will be stronger as a result.
Dismissal of the Election Petition
Posted Thursday, 30 July 2015 at 15:58
With regards to today’s news from the High Court, my solicitors, Clifford Chance, have prepared this statement on my behalf:
"This petition was part of Mr Ireland's continued campaign of harassment against our client. Our client believes that the petition was maliciously brought and had no merit. We are pleased that the right outcome, namely dismissal of the petition, was achieved. Our client was elected with a very clear majority and, with this petition now dismissed (and with the petitioner not having sought to appeal) she can continue with her job of representing the people of Mid-Bedfordshire."
Ampthill Surgeries Parking Debate
Posted Wednesday, 1 July 2015 at 13:17
Yesterday I called a debate in Parliament to highlight the urgent problem of parking around the GP surgeries in Ampthill.
With more NHS staff working in Ampthill, and more houses in the town and wider region, parking around the surgeries has become very difficult. Cars mounting the pavements pose serious dangers to pedestrians and there has already been one minor crash.
Every time I go to see my doctor in Ampthill I am reminded that this serious situation is getting worse and I want to act before somebody gets hurt. I will not let civil servants pass the buck until a preventable accident forces them to do something. The GP surgeries in Ampthill need improved parking facilities so that our healthcare system does not force patients to sacrifice their safety.
To demonstrate the strength of feeling locally, I presented the Minister with a petition I raised in the surgeries that contains the signatures of several thousand concerned residents.
I also wanted to offer potential solutions, such as NHS England releasing some of the Section 106 money received from housing developers for precisely this kind of infrastructure upgrade.
During the debate Alistair Burt, MP for North-East Bedfordshire and Minister at the Department for Health, announced that NHS England has pledged to meet 25% of the costs of any upgrade, in addition to the potential S106 money.
I will now work with the local practices to prepare a bid to access some of the £750 million primary care infrastructure fund and will chair a joint meeting between NHS England, Ministers, the practice managers and other stakeholders in order to reach a solution acceptable to Ampthill residents and patients.
Posted Thursday, 25 June 2015 at 14:13
We have today had news of the last death throes of the Nirah project. I've said repeatedly for the past ten years that the whole thing was a scam and a huge amount of taxpayer’s money was wasted on this white elephant.
Thankfully Central Bedfordshire Council is an efficient and well-run exemplar of how to handle our council tax when compared to its bungling predecessor that got sucked into this confidence trick in the first place, all those years ago.
If we look to the future now, instead of dwelling on past incompetence, then the latest news means that there is a prime piece of brown-field development land near Stewartby that can be used to provide the area with either jobs or much needed homes.
I trust plans for the intelligent use of this land will now be brought forward with all due haste.
Posted Tuesday, 28 April 2015 at 16:18
It was such a pleasure to be invited to formally open the new Centrality
building in Meppershall last week. A big 'well done' to Mike and his team and I hope the growth will continue!
This is another example of how business is booming in Mid-Beds, creating wealth and providing jobs.
National Stalking Awareness Week
Posted Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 12:13
Given that it is NSAW, I thought I should try and answer in this blog-post a frequently asked question and to highlight, during this important week, a few aspects of stalking that many fail to comprehend.
As this is an election period I am restrained by law. My own stalker has left his family behind in Surrey and moved across three counties to live in my constituency and actively campaign against me.
I can only quote the facts, not my opinion, or detail any emotional content or impact. My experience of being stalked by him has already been detailed in the Mail On Sunday, the Beds Times & Citizen and the Telegraph.
The question I am asked most often is “Why isn't your stalker in prison?” There are two reasons for this:
This article in the Independent on Sunday last weekend helps a little when it comes to explaining the first. Only one percent of all stalking cases are prosecuted. The CPS has called upon all prosecutors to undergo training in implementing the new anti-stalking legislation that was introduced in Dec 2012.
For the second reason it is necessary to explain, using facts only, examples of the stalking methods used on me and others. If you read how my stalker behaves and orchestrates others you will immediately see that he is an expert when it comes to avoiding prosecution, often by using others to harass his targets. That is one reason why it is so difficult to obtain a prosecution.
Here are ten examples that demonstrate his Modus operandi.
1. A constituent in Mid-Beds once innocently mentioned on Twitter how she had seen me out delivering leaflets in her street. She was immediately targeted by my stalker. He didn't know her but subjected her to cyber-abuse and bullying. If she hadn't been as strong a person as she was he could have seriously frightened and upset her.
2. My stalker bombarded a member of my team with emails of a very personal nature. One alarmed her so much that she forwarded it to her husband, who is a doctor working for the NHS.
It was an email in which the stalker revealed he had been “researching her” and he boasted about contacting people she had worked with more than twenty years previously in order to obtain personal information about her. He provided examples of everyday information he had gathered from her distant past. He terrified her. She handed in her notice that day and left.
My stalker then wrote a blog stating that she moonlighted in the NHS while working for me, which was not true. The reality is that he had put a tracer on her email that showed him where it had been forwarded to. He saw that it had been opened by an NHS computer and drawn the wrong conclusion.
3. Three years ago, a young Labour Party activist who was at school with my daughter was asked by the girlfriend of my stalker to find out personal information about my daughter from her teachers and friends and to pass it back to her. The woman wanted grades, behaviour, movements and any other information he could extract from conversations with my daughter’s teachers. The young man later left the Labour Party and nine months ago he interned with me briefly in Westminster.
I only discovered this information last year and, had I known earlier, the outcome may have been very different. My stalker’s girlfriend had crossed a serious line but the police said the legal time frame of six months in which they could have acted had passed.
4. My stalker also obtained the telephone number of a young BBC researcher working on a television programme I had appeared on. He began to harass her on the phone and on Twitter. I was informed about this by a well-known presenter of the show who was deeply concerned. He asked me for information to help the BBC deal with my stalker and his behaviour towards the young researcher.
5. In a parliamentary debate, I mentioned a professor at Bedfordshire University. My stalker then began frequently contacting the professor’s research assistant, who had just had a baby. He repeatedly demanded to see her research work even though he had no reason or right to. The professor rang me from China, where he was presenting a lecture, to voice his concern.
6. The former group editor of the Bedfordshire on Sunday newspaper had to telephone my stalker and warn him to stop harassing his journalists. My stalker had demanded that the newspaper print stories about me, which he fabricated and dictated to them. When the newspaper editor refused my stalker began harassing the editor. In the words of one of the journalists: ‘These are stories which fall to dust in our hands the moment we investigate. He is fixated with you.’
7. The LBC broadcaster Iain Dale, who is also a friend of mine, occasionally mentioned me on his very successful blog. My stalker began to cyber-abuse and harass him, followed up with aggressive personal phone calls. This included telephoning him forty times in twenty minutes. The police admit they dropped the ball on that one and, if the legal time limit hadn’t passed, they could have had him in court.
8. Last year I received an email from a constituent informing me that my stalker had moved across the country and was living in a house not far from my own. The email said that my stalker had lost his wife, his family and his home.
He had called a meeting in a pub with what were described as “like-minded people” he had met on the internet. One was Richard Bartholomew, a well-known accomplice of my stalker. He presented the meeting with what appeared to be copies of my bank statements, contracts and personal financial transactions. Again, my stalker uses others for the more risky elements of his stalking. The person who sent the email about this wrote: “please confirm receipt of this email so I know you are aware of any potential dangers posed by [the stalker] and can put my own mind at rest for now.”
9. A pregnant journalist re-tweeted a message I had posted on Twitter. She then opened an email my stalker sent her. It contained software that gave him access to her computer.
He then he bombarded her with aggressive telephone calls on her mobile phone and read to her emails she had had sent, letting her know that he could see what she was writing on her computer. This terrified her. She begged him to stop because she was pregnant. He told her she was using her baby as a human shield. She went to into premature labour.
10. My stalker turned up at a constituency hustings in 2010 and disrupted the entire meeting, forcing me to leave.
I could continue for thousands of words, highlighting one example after another. My stalker does not directly deny all of the above but instead uses his girlfriend to accuse me of “defaming” them both, or uses other tactics to obfuscate reality.
My stalker has been investigated for more than a decade by at least four police forces, who have gathered witness statements from scores of people, including victims whose stories I have not included here.
Following on from the Mail on Sunday article, I was contacted by a number of his victims. One had been targeted for no other reason that he was a Roman Catholic living in the same village as my stalker.
He wrote: ‘When my wife and I read your article in the paper, there were tears running down my wife’s face. This man blighted our life for seven years, for no other reason than our faith.’
Sadly the more high profile you are as a woman, the more likely you are to be stalked by others like him. Here is another case where the CPS let a woman down badly.
Indeed, as Paladin’s CEO Laura Richards tells me, everyone has a way to go when it comes to stopping stalkers. But the promising thing is that thanks to her work we are getting people to recognise that this is a huge problem causing not only misery to the stalker’s target, but also everyone around them.
My family and I have endured this man’s stalking for seven years. Before that he did the same to another female MP for three years. Last year he tweeted about shooting me in the head and raping another Conservative MP. I have been informed my stalker is now a scout-master in Mid Beds at the group nearest to my home.
To everyone reading this who knows what it is like to be stalked I want you to know that you are not alone any more. We can and must work together to combat this horrible and cowardly crime. I know that in the case of my stalker, for example, that I can pick up the phone and talk to his other victims when I am feeling down. Together we are stronger.
0207 840 8960
Happy Birthday Ma'am
Posted Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 15:34
I just want to say 'Happy Birthday Ma'am,' to the #wasteland beaachez
I have had the good fortune over the last few years to meet the good lady and what has always struck me the most about her visually has been her bright blue sparkling eyes.
Whatever your opinion of the Royal family, there are few people today in public life who can match her integrity, commitment to duty, discretion or wisdom.
We are lucky people.
Posted Monday, 20 April 2015 at 08:07
For many people Toddington is just a place you drive through on the M1. But for the people who live there it is a strong and vibrant community that can boast everything, from an award winning local shop in the Nisa to a town band.
I was once asked to conduct the town band, which I did and enjoyed very much until the end, when they all turned blue in the face and began falling off the chairs.
It was, of course, a joke. They had failed to tell me that the conductor has to stop the band with a certain definite movement of the baton and they all carried on playing - until I frantically yelled 'stop'!
It was typical of Toddington. Happiness and fun appear to be the buzzwords. Sometimes it feels as though there is something in the water the rest of us are missing!
Last week I visited the local Nisa, at the invite of Kishor and Gary, to meet some of the lovely locals. Needless to say, there were lots of laughs.
I was out of my comfort zone as you can tell by the amount I jiggle about in the video. However, it was a great experience and a big thank you to the lovely welcoming staff and residents.