Steph Mcgovern on Nadine Dorries presenting on Talk TV
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Nadine Dorries has been accused of “breaching the government’s rules” by not consulting the parliament’s anti-corruption watchdog before taking a new job at TalkTV. The chair of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), Eric Pickles, said that “failing to seek and await advice before the role was announced or taken up, in this case, is a breach of the government’s rules and the requirements set out in the ministerial code”. A letter was also sent by Lord Pickles to the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Dowden, regarding a potential reprimand for the move.
Ms Dorries will host a new Friday-night talk show on TalkTV from February 3.
Her first guest will be former prime minister Boris Johnson, who she has consistently backed for a return to Downing Street.
Lord Pickles said that Acoba was informed on Friday of Ms Dorries’ decision to take up the new role.
In a separate letter to Mr Dowden, he recommended that “given the transparent nature” of the role, it would be “disproportionate to take any further action in this case”.
But, he added that the case was a “further illustration of how out of date the government’s rules are”.
He said Ms Dorries should have “approached Acoba in good time” regarding the taking up of this new role, as opposed to giving a week’s notice.
Under the current rules, Ms Dorries should seek clearance from Acoba for any new employment or appointments she takes on within two years of leaving office.
Lord Pickles told the Mid Bedfordshire MP that “the risks under the rules in these types of appointments are usually limited”.
He added: “Had you approached Acoba in good time before agreeing to the 26-week contract or publicising the role in the media, it would have allowed us to advise you appropriately in advance.”
The Cabinet Office is expected to respond to Lord Pickles letter in due course, though any form of punishment appears unlikely.
Announcing her show, Ms Dorries said she will be putting her “23-year political career and experiences at the despatch box to good use”.
She said: “As someone who’s never been afraid to speak their mind, I’m delighted to be joining the team at TalkTV for Friday Night with Nadine, where I’ll be putting my 23-year political career and experiences at the despatch box to good use.
“Boris Johnson continues to dominate so much of the political narrative since his departure from No 10. Now’s the time to find out what he really thinks about a whole range of pressing issues.”
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Ms Dorries joins a roster that also includes Piers Morgan, Jeremy Kyle, Vanessa Feltz and Sharon Osbourne.
Chair of the Labour Party Anneliese Dodds accused the Conservative Party of being out of step with the public, adding that the ruling party “think the rules don’t apply to them”.
She said: “Once again the Conservatives think the rules don’t apply to them. It’s no surprise that Rishi Sunak’s MPs are looking for new jobs, but the least we could expect is for former ministers to follow the guidance around appointments.
“Rishi Sunak has been too weak to deal with his MPs and ministers so far. Is he strong enough to take action against Nadine Dorries?”
TalkTV described the forthcoming show as “an irreverent look at the week’s news and a lively mix of topical chat with guests from the world of politics, culture and sport”.
Express.co.uk has contacted representatives for Ms Dorries.
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