The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
GP Services in Mid-Beds
Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2019 at 11:39

Residents of Shefford have been in touch with me recently about difficulty getting appointments at their (otherwise excellent) GP surgery. The same problem faces people living in Cranfield and Flitwick.

Housing development often gets the blame, and there's no denying it's played a part. Increasing demand puts pressure on services. But there's also a lack of supply. We don't have enough GPs.

I know the Department of Health and the Beds Clinical Commissioning Group are aware of the problem and are working on solutions. For the good of my constituents I will be putting pressure on them to do that quicker.

I'm applying for a debate in Parliament to raise the specific issues faced by Mid-Beds residents when accessing GP services. I will also continue providing feedback to the CCG as they complete their strategy on the future provision of services across the constituency.

We have seen investment in the NHS from the Government recently, with promises of more to come. But the people I represent deserve to start seeing that reflected in the services they use every day.

 
 
Irritated, a foiled May still plots an election
Posted Monday, 21 January 2019 at 14:10

White-faced and red-lipped, on the night of the snap 2017 election, Theresa May told her advisers: “I don’t look strong and stable now, I just look stupid.” That defeat did not deliver the thumping majority she expected. It lost us 13 Conservative MPs and our majority, necessitating a confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP for the Conservative Party to survive and to save the country from a Marxist government.

That night must have had the most profound and deep impact on such a proud and private woman. A dedicated public servant who has given her entire life, working and waiting for a very different outcome to arrive.

Last Tuesday, along with 117 other Conservative MPs, I voted against May’s EU withdrawal deal. It was 
a bad deal for Britain, but even more so for Northern Ireland as it contained the problematic Irish backstop, repeatedly rejected by the DUP. If the deal had passed, the Conservative Party would have sailed into very dangerous waters. The DUP would have had no alternative but to end the supply and confidence arrangement. At the least, its MPs would have sat on their hands and not joined us in the voting lobbies. In these extraordinary days, the 118 Conservative rebels were voting to keep the party in power, while the whips and No 10 were leaning on MPs to vote for the deal, lose the DUP and create chaos. Why?

Winning the vote would have been a massive boost for May, here and abroad. It would have created the perfect storm: an emboldened and respected prime minister, having delivered the seemingly impossible, with her government and party in free fall as the DUP walked out the door. These would have been the ideal conditions in which to call another snap general election, with May at the helm.

A general election would mean seeking a public endorsement for the withdrawal agreement from a country that voted leave. It would be a huge, stonking risk and one that would send an icy chill down the spine of almost every Conservative MP.

Recently, it was reported that May attended the 1922 committee and stated that she understood that MPs did not want her to lead the party into the next general election. She said she was disappointed. MPs were stunned when she said she had wanted to do just that. She viewed it as unfinished business, to put right her mistakes in 2017.

My colleague Adam Holloway asked the prime minister to confirm that she would not lead us into any election, not just the one due in 2022. He pressed her twice and, with feeble voice, she failed to answer him. Her eyes were down, her body language evasive.

It was very unlike a previous meeting after the election when, with eyes forward and voice strong, she announced: “I got us into this mess and I will get us out of it.” It was obvious to those of us who voted against her in the recent personal vote of confidence that if it had been her intention not to lead us into 
any election, she would have been unambiguous in her response to Adam.

As the chief whip whispered the result into the ear of the prime minister after the withdrawal agreement vote last week — the worst defeat of any government — irritated, she abruptly shrugged her shoulders in response.

The following day, when the vote of confidence in the government arrived, Michael Gove gave the speech of his life. Make no mistake: that was not just his leadership bid, it was the first shot fired in an election campaign as he exposed and excoriated Jeremy Corbyn. It’s not winter that is coming, it’s a general election and May’s advisers will attempt to ensure she leads us into it.

(This article first appeared in yesterday's Sunday Times.)

 
 
My Vote This Evening
Posted Tuesday, 15 January 2019 at 16:19

We were once told that no deal is better than a bad deal. I still believe that’s true.

As evidenced by comments from the EU negotiators, we haven’t even tried to negotiate a good deal, one that could pass the test of Parliament. 

From the moment the calamitous Chequers proposals were published it’s been clear the government is seeking an arrangement that is too close to the EU, following EU rules and adhering to EU standards.

The withdrawal agreement as it stands leaves us 
subject to Brussels’ laws but with no voice and no say in making them. That is the worst of all possible worlds.

My fear is that we will end up locked into alignment with the EU, at the mercy of 27 member states whose interests clash with our own. That fear was only made worse when I read about the provisions of the backstop.

I am a Conservative and Unionist MP. I cannot vote for an agreement that would treat Northern Ireland as a second rate province, the first step to imposing the unification of the island of Ireland.

I supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum because of the potential of trade agreements we should be making around the world but can’t because of Brussels’ inflexibility. Within the backstop we would remain subject to the EU’s trade policy and still unable to forge our own destiny.

As if all that weren’t enough, if the withdrawal agreement is ratified we will be landed with a £39 billion divorce bill. I just cannot accept this is a reasonable amount.

The size of the divorce bill sums up Europe’s approach to the negotiations. Of course, they have been admirably united. And why not? It’s in the interests of all the other 27 states to keep milking us for as long as they can, then take advantage of us on the terms of the withdrawal agreement and hope to do the same thing on the future trading arrangements.

It’s time we pushed back against this, as we should have from the start.

If the deal is voted down tonight, I suspect the EU may miraculously come back with better terms. It’s what they always do. We can then consider if they are good enough. If not, we will reject them again. Remember, no deal is better than a bad deal.

Leaving the EU on WTO terms has been portrayed by Remainers in such blood curdling terms even they can’t really believe them. An inverted pyramid of piffle, as Boris might say.

If the best way to build a positive, balanced future relationship with Europe is by leaving on WTO terms, so be it.

There will be no suspended flights, no shortages of food and, as the deputy mayor of Calais assured us, no long tail backs of lorries. What there will be however, is the opportunity to strike profitable trade deals with countries around the globe, to the benefit of prosperity and jobs in the U.K.

For all these reasons I will be voting against the withdrawal agreement this evening.

If the EU come back with a deal that removes the backstop, reduces the divorce payment and allows us to negotiate free trade deals, I will happily vote for that.

 
 
Thuggery. Abuse. Threats. Unacceptable everywhere. But no-one came to Brexiteers’ defence when we were victims.
Posted Tuesday, 15 January 2019 at 16:07

 

This is my article from ConHome, which can also be read here:

“I want to see you, trapped in a burning car and watch as the heat from the flames melts the flesh from your face.”

Just one of a huge number of threats I have received since the day I became an MP. I decided not prosecute the originator of that remark, since he pleaded that his wife was pregnant, that he had just started a new job and his life would be in ruins if I took action.

That was the moment for me when Twitter transformed from being a platform of debate to one of abuse because within weeks, I had inherited a stalker who stuck with me for eight long years. I wasn’t his first victim. He had targeted his local female MP for three years before me, but she didn’t have a Twitter account and wasn’t on social media, so he moved across the country, rented a house, yards from my own, and then began eight years of intimidation and torment that affected me, my family, my job and my wellbeing.

Did anyone care? Was anyone bothered? Did anyone understand? No, not a bit. Especially not the Crown Prosecution Service, which appeared to believe that, since as an MP I was accountable to the electorate, it followed, unfortunately for me, that this accountability could manifest itself in a variety of ways. I had to move out of my own home and constituency because I was terrified – and it appeared, I was entirely on my own.

I didn’t think things could get much worse after that.  But then came the EU referendum, and it was as if the floodgates of abuse had now opened to the full, leaving my own stalker looking like a third rate amateur.

In addition to the social media and email onslaught, I have barely been able to use my own office for over a year, thanks to the ‘Stop Brexit’ campaigners outside of my window – meaning that, most of the time, I am displaced as I work on a canteen table, or in the Commons library. Month by month, the threats have intensified and they reach the darkest corners of the all-abusable me.

Forget the ‘C’ word. That comes as standard – usually as a subject header on an email. I have become immune. Forget the death threats – for goodness’ sake, there are, so many; so gruesome. It had become very obvious, by the standard of notifications on social media and the comments aimed at me as I walked to Millbank to give interviews, that something was afoot. The language of social medial via the immunity of the keyboard was becoming normalised. I haven’t given an interview on College Green for months, thanks to the stop Brexit protesters. I haven’t walked to Millbank without a male member of staff for over a year. What people would once only have said in private, they have been saying in public, as discourse noticeably deteriorated.

This Christmas, I deactivated my Twitter account. It hurt. There are things I care about, deeply. When you post a tweet that has 10,000 likes and almost three quarter of a million impressions, you know you have an effective platform. To advance my views is one of the reasons I became a politician. Not to duck down behind the sofa, but to jump on the parapet, to put myself in the public space of debate. What’s the point otherwise?

However, the abuse became so bad that I felt the need to stop giving media interviews, writing articles and to remove myself from the public arena. To get off the bus. It was all too much. People were becoming far too angry.

And it’s not just here in the UK. You only have to look around the globe to see how the internet is empowering people – not always in a good way. How minority groups can bully and dominate social media platforms to establish acceptable norms on so many issues. In politics, the paradigm is shifting. Walking the corridors of Westminster is like trotting through quicksand, and many are struggling to understand the new politics.

The Remain Metro Elite thought it was all absolutely fine to project fearmongering, scream “Stop Brexit”, campaign for a second referendum and present themselves on TV to systematically denounce and traduce the result of the referendum and to even, via the courts, try to have the result overturned.

Alastair Campbell of dodgy dossier fame, who proclaimed that the will of Parliament alone was enough to take us to war in Iraq, now endlessly calls for a second referendum, yet no one has died as a result of the referendum vote. He campaigns for a second poll so that the people vote again until they vote the establishment way. The metaphorical equivalent of removing the pin from a hand grenade.

The BBC thought they could spout pure unadulterated bias. Give Gary Lineker a free pass as he abuses elsewhere those 17.5 million people who agonised over their vote, and believe that there would be no consequence as a result. Broadcasters describe working classes leave voters as “gammon” and thick, and so much more besides. Well, I am gammon. I am working-class and proud. I never for one moment thought that these developments would end in anything but tears, and the very worst is still to come.

The handling of Brexit. The fudged negotiations. The deceit, the lies, the attempt by Number Ten to Brexit in name only will soon come home to roost.

People said it was impossible for America to elect Donald Trump, that it would never happen.  That Angela Merkel would go on and on and on in post. Emmanuel Macron was a slap in the face to the French establishment. Shifting political sands.

People here in the UK have reached their own tipping point. Some will become totally disenfranchised, remain at home and will possibly never vote again. Some will vent on social media and the abuse will continue. Others will step away from the keyboard and out onto the streets, and that is already happening. Journalists, Westminster elite, MPs, Prime Minister – we are all to blame, as while we fiddle, Westminster may burn. And someone not at all committed to democratic norms – someone we haven’t yet thought of, or maybe we have – will rise from the ashes, and we will only have ourselves to blame.

 

 
 
My Speech on the Withdrawal Agreement
Posted Monday, 10 December 2018 at 14:33
 
 
My Speech about the Attorney General
Posted Thursday, 6 December 2018 at 08:57
 
 
Compensation for Mid-Beds' Rail Users
Posted Friday, 1 June 2018 at 13:16

My commuting constituents already suffer enough. Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory since taking over the franchise from First Capital Connect. Some factors have been out of their control, others are not and they are consistently failing.

As long as I’ve been an MP commuters have filled by post-bag and inbox with horror stories of the Bed-Pan line. First it suffered from under-investment under consecutive government for decades. Now money is flowing into the line again it suffers from GTR’s appalling mismanagement.

As soon as the timetable changes were announced, users of Flitwick and Harlington stations asked me to pass their warnings to both GTR and the Department for Transport. I was very happy to do so. Measures taken to mitigate a reduction in the number of trains serving the stations would be all well and good if they worked. They have not. At all.

Having a lack of drivers is a problem that has plagued GTR for too long. The time when they can blame this on the previous franchisee has long since passed. Cancellations because of a lack of drivers isn’t good enough.

Since GTR took over the franchise I have told them that I expect clear, accurate communication with passengers when things go wrong. This is a basic requirement for my constituents to know they can get to work on time and home again before children and partners go to bed. This is perhaps the worst failing of the last two weeks because GTR can blame nobody but themselves. It’s been a shambles.

I’ve been relaying the very many emails I’ve received on the subject of GTR’s failures to their senior management and the Department for Transport. I want nobody to be under any illusions just how seriously failed my constituents have been. GTR are unfit to manage the franchise and have proved themselves so by gross incompetence.

When Parliament returns next week I will have a series of meetings with the Secretary of State and managers from GTR and Network Rail. I will be calling for recompense for users of Flitwick and Harlington stations, an acceptable level of service and a full, independent investigation of what has gone wrong throughout this sorry saga.

Ultimately, my constituents pay thousands of pounds to travel into London for work. It is a high cost line with a worse than low-cost service. My constituents deserve compensation and I will be fighting for them to get it.

 
 
Reshuffle
Posted Tuesday, 9 January 2018 at 12:25

Excellent news about the appointment of Dominic Raab as the new Housing Minister.

This is a hugely important subject in Mid-Beds and I look forward to working with Dom, CBC and my constituents in the coming months as the new Local Plan is put forward.

 
 
Trains
Posted Thursday, 21 December 2017 at 12:15

As one of my colleagues pointed out yesterday, it takes a special kind of magic to turn a multi-billion pound success story of much-needed investment in railway infrastructure into a ‘horlicks’ of inconvenience and miscommunication.

Yet, somehow, that is where we are with our train services in Mid-Beds.

As my commuting constituents will be all too aware, Network Rail, East Midlands Trains (EMT) and Thameslink recently, suddenly and with no consultation, announced a very significant shake-up of the railway timetables.

As briefly as possible, to enable infrastructure upgrades north of us, and to take advantage of previous upgrades south of us, fast EMT trains will no longer stop at Bedford during peak hours. Instead, Thameslink trains will run fast to Luton, no longer stopping at Flitwick and Harlington.

For my constituents who commute from Bedford this is inconvenient, efforts at mitigation then cause further inconvenience down the line for commuters using Flitwick and Harlington.

As an MP I’ve rarely been as angry as I am about these changes, both because of their significance and the appalling manner they’ve been set out and communicated.

There is simply no doubt that this has been handled badly and I will continue to press for an explanation of what went wrong. I will also keep up the pressure on Thameslink to stick to their promises for easing the negative effects of these changes for my constituents.

All services stopping at Flitwick and Harlington in peak times will be 12 carriage trains. New trains will have both free wifi and tables. Older trains will have these retrofitted.

Perhaps the most significant benefits of the investment on the Thameslink London core are less tangible but of very real advantage to my constituents. Fewer delays, fewer cancelled trains and less time spent waiting on cold, windy platforms.

As with any major infrastructure development, the devil is in the detail. Thameslink must provide the benefits they are promising, most importantly longer trains with larger capacity at peak hours.

I understand why my constituents are sceptical and it’s my job to hold Thameslink to account. If you have concerns, questions or just something you want to get off your chest about these changes then please send an email to dorriesn@parliament.uk

 
 
Friday's Visits
Posted Monday, 27 November 2017 at 11:08




Another informative and enjoyable day in the constituency on Friday. But the absolute highlight was meeting Jean, who lives at the excellent Ferndale residential home in Flitwick.

Jean will soon be celebrating her 105
th birthday! Her determination to enjoy life was infectious, as shown by the pictures of her taking one of the first swims in the pool at the new Flitwick leisure centre.

I’d like to thank everyone at Ferndale for hosting me on Friday. The residents for letting me come into their home and the staff for working so hard to make it possible.

 
 
My Speech in Today's Budget Debate
Posted Wednesday, 22 November 2017 at 15:10

I rise to speak to the Chancellor’s announcement and commitment to building 300,000 homes per year and to launch an enquiry into land banking.

I have waited for twelve and a half years to stand today and deliver this speech. As someone who called a council estate home until my late twenties, I understand more than most the benefits and the joy of home ownership – and I, more than most, have been disappointed at the failure of consecutive political parties and governments to facilitate the building of homes.

Those benefits were brought home to me during a seminal moment on the doorstep during the 2017 election. I was canvassing, Mr Deputy Speaker, as we do, in the Stoppsley ward of Luton, when I knocked on the door of a lady who recognised me.

She said I could never vote or you if you stood here be an MP because I know about you – you support home ownership and the right to buy. I confirmed that this was indeed true and it was in fact the reason, the fundamental reason why I was a Conservative.

And them she went on to tell me that she was a trade unionist. She thought that home ownership was destructive to society - that people who owned their own homes focused on financial capital as opposed to social capital.

I asked her why this was the case and she told me that it should be very obvious, people who have mortgages don’t strike.

She said, something happens to people when they own a house, they focus on personal advancement – and she said it Mr Deputy Speaker, as though this was a bad thing. They think more about earning money to spend on their homes. They take an interest in the economy.

I thought about this many times because you see, for me, home ownership is so important, I regard it as a fundamental right. When Tony Blair became Prime Minister, one of the first things he did was to scrap Right to Buy and then went on to open our borders years ahead of other EU countries to allow unfettered immigration piling instant pressure onto our housing stock.

The conversation I had with the lady in Stoppsley took me back to the time my mother became a home owner and to the estate I lived on and what happened to the people on that estate when they became home owners and mortgage payers for the first time. Unlike my trade unionist lady on the doorstep, to strike or not to strike, didn’t seem to feature with the new mortgage holders.

Up to that point, front doors had all been painted the same colour by the council. The people who had gardens on the ground floor, had their gardens divided with packing cases there were no flowers, and the place was grey.

But, home ownership changed people overnight for the better, it was as though the moment people stopped paying rent and their monthly outgoings became a mortgage, they opened their eyes and took a pride in their homes. The front doors began to be painted in different colours, expressing individuality.

Flowers were planted in borders, packing cases were replaced with painted fences.

But something else happened too. The men who worked in the local factory began to work overtime, and for the first time, the first car appeared in our street and then another. 

Women who had stayed at home, went out to work and rather than home ownership becoming a replacement for social responsibility, I believe it became a driver for women’s equality.

My mother who had trained as a teacher was busy at night with people coming to her for help with night school classes, in fact, my mother ran a night school that was heaving. People began to sell their first homes and move up the ladder, just as the UK saw its last building boom in the 70’s as new estates popped up across the UK.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the young people today are as despondent as my parents once were. Their chance of owning a home is a distant option for many young people, especially those living in London. The crash of 2008 blocked any chance for many young people to step onto the property owning ladder and, as a result, the price of home ownership has been but a dream for many.

You only have to speak to the young researchers and staff who work here in the palace. They are in their mid-thirties before they can even begin to place their first foot on the housing ladder. The goal, the aim, the aspiration to become a home owner when we were young is missing from their lives.

That is why the announcement today to build 300,000 homes a year is so important, for families too. 

Renting in the UK is destabilising and demoralising for many families

Dead money, the prospect of possibly having to pack up and move every six months, instability for adults and children but worse of all, it’s the hopelessness of renting that demotivates people to improve their life chances. Why would anyone want to retrain, to upskill if the money they pay for accommodation is being earned to line someone else’s pocket?

 
 
Community Policing
Posted Tuesday, 7 November 2017 at 16:16

This morning there was a debate in Parliament about community policing. I would have loved to contribute on behalf of Bedfordshire Police but I was chairing the debate and had to remain impartial.

Beds Police have a very effective model of community policing and I was pleased to hear this point being made by Andrew Selous MP, my Parliamentary neighbour in Bedfordshire.

I am continuing to work with our Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, to press the government for a fairer funding settlement for Beds Police.

Bedfordshire has a complex crime environment, including an international airport and instances of extremism, but we are funded as a small rural force. This cannot continue.

When I’m chairing a debate I cannot take sides. At all other times I will bang the drum for Bedfordshire, including pressing for more money for our hard-working, under-appreciated police force.

Well done to Andrew Selous for making the points I couldn't and representing Bedfordshire in a powerful, thoughtful and concise way!

 
 
 
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at: nadine.dorries.mp@parliament.uk
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

 
My Recent Posts
Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2019 at 11:39
 
Posted Monday, 21 January 2019 at 14:10
 
Posted Tuesday, 15 January 2019 at 16:19
 
Posted Tuesday, 15 January 2019 at 16:07
 
Posted Monday, 10 December 2018 at 14:33
 
Posted Thursday, 6 December 2018 at 08:57
 
Posted Friday, 1 June 2018 at 13:16
 
Posted Tuesday, 9 January 2018 at 12:25
 
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