Nadine Dorries is confident that the Conservatives will bounce back from the sleaze scandal that has engulfed the party.
A turbulent few weeks was capped off by a fresh round of damming stories in yesterday’s newspapers, with the i revealing that the MP who told Marcus Rashford to focus on the day job has a second job.
Government attempts to rip up the centuries-old Commons standards system has not washed well with the public.
The latest polling shows that the Tories three-point lead has become a six-point deficit in a dramatic turnaround.
The poll found that voters overwhelmingly believe Mr Johnson should apologise for his botched handling of the scandal, which he has repeatedly refused to do, and the vast majority (62 per cent) think Tory grandee Sir Geoffrey Cox should stand down.
Half of voters also believe MPs should be banned from taking second jobs, with barely a quarter saying the current system was acceptable.
More than a storm in a Westminster teacup
Writing in the i, polling expert Sir John Curtice said the results show the scandal is “more than a storm in a Westminster teacup,” words used by George Eustice earlier this week.
Discussing the Owen Paterson case, Curtice said ministers should have been “well aware that the public are deeply suspicious of anything that smells of MPs trying to feather their own nests and of breaking or bending the rules in order to do so.”
“Little wonder Tory backbenchers found their inboxes stuffed full of voters angry at what they had done.”
But according to leaked WhatsApp messages obtained by the Times Red Box, Nadine Dorries is confident that the current crisis will soon blow over.
Late on Thursday evening, she said concerns that the “damage from last week” would “take a lot more than good words to repair” were “totally untrue”.
Speaking in a group full of Conservative MPs, Dorries shot down her worried fellow Tory, George Freeman – reminding him the 2009 expenses scandal had been “a billion times worse” and they recovered just fine.
In a lengthy defence of the government, Dorries said it was “totally not true George, those of us who were here in 2009 know that isn’t the case.
“The expenses scandal, which began the day of the European Elections campaign in 2009 and ended on the day of the ballot, was a billion times worse than last week.”
The press “go harder on us”
She added the Tories get more of a hammering than Labour in the papers, which actually worked to their benefit: “We dominated (mainly Tories, bcse [sic] the press always go harder on us) the front page of every single newspaper and news bulletin for five whole weeks”
Dorries said “half a dozen MPs were banged into prison” and “one year later, almost to the day, we monstered Labour in the local elections and David Cameron became PM breaking 13 years of Labour domination”.
And, as JOE Media pointed out, she’s not wrong.
In 2013 it was revealed she was paying her daughters £75,000 per year of taxpayer money to work in her office.
She was also forced to repay over £3,000 in travel expenses having accepted her claims on the taxpayer were “wrongfully made and should not have been allowed”
Despite all that hubris, Dorries is now culture secretary in a Conservative government with a huge majority.
Related: Elevenses: The MP Pay Problem