Nadine Dorries struggled to hide her frustration as party MPs squabbled over the Tory’s latest attack line.
In a series of exchanges seen by Sky’s deputy political editor Sam Coates, allies of Boris Johnson clashed with their colleagues who warned against criticising the decision by Sir Keir Starmer to hire Sue Gray, the author of the partygate report.
Former minister Jackie Doyle-Price warned that recent attacks by the Conservative Party are “ill judged” and “burning our constitution”.
Doyle-Price said in a group chat on Monday morning: “A reminder folks – Boris Johnson appointed Sue Gray to investigate partygate. No one else. So much for a stitch up . He wasn’t brought down by partygate. Or by Whitehall.
“He lost the confidence of the Parliamentary party over the appointment of the previous deputy chief whip (Chris Pincher).”
The former minister warned “this anti-Whitehall pile on is simply burning our constitution”.
“Starmer has shown poor judgment here but a lot of what is being said by Colleagues is also I’ll [sic] judged,” she said.
However, the Conservative MP for Workington, Mark Jenkinson, disagreed, saying the former senior civil servant was making “a mockery of the system she purported to be protecting”.
Tim Loughton, the backbench MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, came partially to Ms Doyle-Price’s defence, arguing that criticism should be focused on Sir Keir rather than Sue Gray to avoid “refocussing public attention on partygate”.
But it was former culture secretary Nadine Dorries who most aggressively rejected the appeal to step back from attacks, starting her message: “Are you serious, Jackie?”.
Read the exchange in full below:
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