Nadine Dorries

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Nadine Dorries is the Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire. She entered parliament at the 2005 general election.

Biographical background

Ms Dorries entered nursing in 1975 as a trainee at Warrington General Hospital.[1] From 1978 to 1981, she practised as a nurse in both Warrington and Liverpool.[2]

In 1982, she became a medical representative to Ethicla Ltd for a year, before spending a year in Zambia as the head of a community school, where her husband ran a copper mine.[3] In 1987, Ms Dorries became the managing director of Company Kids Ltd providing child day care services. The company was sold in 1998 to BUPA, at which she served as a director for a year.[4]

Ms Dorries unsuccessfully contested the constituency of Hazel Grove as Nadine Bargery at the 2001 general election, and was defeated by the sitting Liberal Democrats MP Andrew Stunell by 8,435 votes.[5]

Ms Dorries was elected to the House of Commons at the general election 2005, for the safe seat of Mid-Bedfordshire on the retirement through ill health after a series of scandals of Jonathan Sayeed, with a majority of 11,355, and made her maiden speech on 25 May 2005.[6]

Committee Membership

Science and Technology Committee

In the 2007/2008 Parliamentary session, Nadine Dorries was a member of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee. From 2008 this became the Science and Technology Committee, and she continued as a member until the 2010 general election. However, the formal minutes[7] show that Ms Dorries only attended one of fifty general meetings of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee, and did not attend a single general meeting of the Science and Technology Committee.

See below for Ms Dorries' minority report on Scientific Evidence Relating to the Abortion Act 1967.

Health Committee

In July 2010, Nadine Dorries was appointed to the Commons Health Committee.[8]

Abortion

Introduced the Termination of Pregnancy Bill

On 31 October 2006, Ms Dorries introduced a Private Member's Bill on abortion. The Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2006-7 was to "reduce the time limit for legal termination of pregnancy from 24 to 20 weeks; to introduce a cooling off period after the first point of contact with a medical practitioner about a termination; to require the provision of counselling about the medical risk of, and about matters relating to, termination and bringing the pregnancy to term as a condition of informed consent to termination; and for connected purposes"[9].

This Bill was supported by Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith, Anne Main, Bob Russell, John Hayes, Liam Fox, Edward Vaizey, Eleanor Laing, Michael Penning, Mark Field, and Brooks Newmark. Ms Dorries' Private Member's Bill was referred to by Chris McCafferty MP as "cruel" and "an attack on women's reproductive rights" [10]was rejected by Parliament by 187 to 108[11].

In 2007 the Science and Technology select committee conducted an inquiry into Scientific Evidence Relating to the Abortion Act 1967. The resulting report from this inquiry concluded that while survival rates at 24 weeks (the current upper limit for abortion) and over have improved since 1990, survival rates (viability) have not done so below that gestational point. The Committee concluded that there is no scientific basis – on the grounds on viability – to reduce the upper time limit[12].

Nadine Dorries MP as a member of this committee and together with Dr Bob Spink MP published a minority report to the main committee's report, questioning some of the key findings and included an allegation that Dr Ben Goldacre had been passed information from the inquiry in breach of parliamentary procedure. He had in fact obtained this publicly available information through the House of Commons website[13].

Proposed amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

In May 2008, she tabled an amendment to the proposed Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill seeking to reduce the upper limit for abortions to 20 weeks from the current 24 weeks of pregnancy. Her amendment was defeated by 332 votes to 190, with a separate 22 week limit opposed by 304 votes to 233 - with MPs continuing to support the 24 week limit[14].

Proposed amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill

On 7 September 2011, Ms Dorries proposed an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, which would have stopped BPAS and Marie Stopes from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies and allowed ‘independent’ counselling including that provided by faith-based organisations.[15] The amendment was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes.

Channel 4 FactCheck on Ms Dorries' claims in relation to this bill: http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-cutting-through-the-rhetoric-on-abortion/7636

Embryo Research

During the 2008 debate over amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, Ms Dorries was outspoken in her opposition to embryo research. MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Bill after being told that embryo research could be used to find cures for dozens of serious conditions, from heart disease to dementia.[16]

Ms Dorries warned that the new law could lead to a hybrid "humanzee," adding that it was "serious, sinister and absolutely, ultimately ridiculous" not to explicitly outlaw such a procedure.[16]

She published a blog post headed by a still photograph taken from the movie "Planet of the Apes", which repeated her concerns:

"Of all the experimental possibilities debated in the course of this Bill, surely none is quite so utterly repulsive as the possibility of seeking to inseminate animals with human sperm."[17]

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Nadine Dorries voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to have genetically related children who would not inherit the disease[18]. An October 2014 briefing report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe[19]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[20]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Sex Education

May 2011 - 10-minute bill. Link dump: Speeches: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmdebate/03.htm General discussion: http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=2325 Discussion of quoted statistics: http://barthsnotes.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/4-7-sexual-innuendos-per-hour/

Same-Sex Marriage

Ms Dorries voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[21] and its third reading in May 2013[22].

Trident

Nadine Dorries has also claimed that the Trident nuclear weapon system cannot be classed as weapons of mass destruction[23].

Homeopathy

Ms Dorries was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[24].

Religion

Cornerstone Group

Nadine Dorries is a member of the Cornerstone Group, a group within the Conservative Party that describes itself as believing in "the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, our culture and our nation's sense of identity for centuries, underpinned by the belief in a strong nation state."[25]. Their website includes articles on Conservative and Christian political issues.

Blasphemy Law

On 6th May 2008, Nadine Dorries voted against a Lords amendment to abolish the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel[26]. The amendment was nonetheless passed by a vote of 378 to 57.

Prayers at Local Council Meetings

In February 2012 the High Court ruled that Bideford Town Council saying prayers at the start of their meetings was unlawful as there was no specific statutory power permitting them, which is required for any council activity under a 1972 Act. The legal action had been brought by the National Secular Society and in quotes they framed the issue in terms of the secular environment of the meetings and freedom of religion[27]. Following the judgement Ms Dorries posted a blog entry[28] claiming "the attack upon Christian belief in this country is plumbing the depths of what reasonable people will accept" and saying of the NSS:

"I once regarded the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association in much the same vein, two organisations which believed in, well, nothing much really and were therefore harmless. I have learnt during my time as an MP that both are very far from harmless, extremely political and intent on imposing their anti-faith view, which is in itself rigid and dogmatic, pursued mainly by zealots, so it can only be described as a form of belief in its own right. This, in a country in which 70% of people describe themselves as Christian."

(The 70% figure probably comes from the 2001 census.)

Expenses Scandal

Nadine Dorries , a Conservative MP, faces the first expenses complaint of the new parliament after a row about a £10,000 claim she paid to a friend’s company.[29]

Her former Commons researcher, Peter Hand, is writing to John Lyon, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, questioning whether the claim can be justified.

The complaint will undermine hopes that the expenses controversy can be consigned to the last parliament.

Dorries, who last week retained her mid-Bedfordshire seat, claimed the money for an annual report in 2007 on her performance as an MP, and consultancy services, but Hand said he never saw the report or worked on it. Dorries claimed a total of more than £40,000 in expenses for services provided by Marketing Management (Midlands), owned by her friend Lynn Elson. They live near each other in the Cotswolds.

Dorries claimed £9,987.50 for Marketing Management in June 2007 for the design, layout and production of an annual report and for consultancy. She says she spent the money, and posted a copy of the report on her website. However, it does not appear to be professionally produced. The previous year, by contrast, she issued a glossy four-page professionally produced report with more than 25 pictures, news articles, an interview and a breakdown of her typical working day as an MP.

Engineering Careers

In February 2013 Ms Dorries secured a Westminster Hall debate on Engineering Careers. During the course of the debate the topics of science education and women in STEM were touched upon.[30]

References

  1. http://www.northcheshirehospitals.nhs.uk
  2. Tory MP Demands Apology, Liverpool Echo, 14 April 2009
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/1568253/The-Tories-Nadine-Dorries-Bridget-Jones-MP.html
  4. Carter, 'From PR to Parliament', p. 8.
  5. http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2001/rp01-054.pdf
  6. Hansard at parliament.uk
  7. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/science-and-technology-committee/formal-minutes/
  8. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-committee/membership/
  9. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/pabills/200607/termination_of_pregnancy.htm
  10. http://www.politics.co.uk/news/health/medical-ethics/abortion/mps-reject-abortion-limit-cut-$456368.htm
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp2001/rp01-054.pdf
  12. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  13. http://www.badscience.net/2007/10/oooooh-im-in-the-minority-report/
  14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7409696.stm
  15. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmdebate/c_06.htm
  16. 16.0 16.1 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/labour/3242706/MPs-vote-to-allow-human-animal-hybrids.html
  17. http://blog.dorries.org/id-1127-2008_10_The_Humanzee_.aspx
  18. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Nadine_Dorries
  19. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  20. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  21. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Nadine_Dorries
  22. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Nadine_Dorries
  23. clip from Question Time episode broadcast on 7 May 2009, at 5:19
  24. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  25. http://cornerstonegroup.wordpress.com/about/
  26. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2008-05-06&number=170&display=allvotes
  27. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-16980025
  28. http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thecolumnists/2012/02/from-nadinedorriesmp-parliament-must-prevent-anti-religious-groups-from-stopping-prayers-before-coun.html
  29. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7120750.ece
  30. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2013-02-13a.305.0

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