This book could cost you any hope you have of a peerage, Cabinet Office warns Nadine
NADINE Dorries last night accused the Government of making a ‘desperate’ attempt to stop the publication of her explosive book.
She warned that her refusal to reveal its contents could lead to her being blacklisted from future public appointments, potentially including a peerage.
When the Cabinet Office discovered that Ms Dorries was writing The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson, she was told by Whitehall officials that she should share a prepublication transcript to allow them to vet any confidential material.
Senior civil servants cited the Government’s so-called ‘Radcliffe Rules’, which state that ‘ministers should relinquish all government material when ceasing to hold a role’ and set out limits on access to official papers by former ministers.
But the former culture secretary declined to do so after she received legal advice that the rules were not applicable to the book – and did not want to do so voluntarily on the grounds that Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, who would have had the ultimate power to vet the contents, is criticised in the book.
Last night, on the eve of the book’s serialisation in tomorrow’s Mail, Ms Dorries received a letter from Simon Madden, the director of propriety and ethics at the Cabinet Office.
It read: ‘As we have received no transcript of your book from you or your publisher, after a number of requests, we have no option but to consider you in breach of the Radcliffe Rules. We have to inform you that this may be taken into account should you find yourself under consideration in the future for an honour (including a peerage) or for a public appointment.’
Ms Dorries announced in June that she would step down as the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire after she was denied a peerage in Mr Johnson’s resignation honours.
A defiant Ms Dorries said last night: ‘I took extensive and exhaustive legal advice over the issue of the Radcliffe Rules. Of course, my publishers would have insisted I comply, if I was required to do so.
‘The book is not about me, or my previous role as a secretary of state. It is not a memoir in any remote sense of the word and has zero to do with policy or official secrets.
‘It tells the utterly shocking and as yet unknown story of a deeply entrenched degree of corruption which lies at the heart of the Conservative Party, of government and No 10 Downing Street and of a group of men who wield ultimate power, who very few know of or have ever met.
‘This group of men have been in control of who leads the party and who is prime minister, since the days of William Hague.’
She added: ‘If I had submitted my book to the Cabinet Office, the ultimate authority to sign it off would have been Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary. I gave up my job as secretary of state to write this book.
‘I knew that by writing it, I would be punished and that my
‘A hard rain is coming’
nomination for the House of Lords would be scuppered.
‘I then resigned as an MP and now, after many letters to myself from the Cabinet Office, numerous negative briefings to the media and endless attempts over the past year to destroy my reputation, flailing in a last desperate attempt to stop the book being published, they fire this last pathetic salvo.
‘A hard rain is coming to those who have distorted our democracy. No nomination, no public appointment is as important to me as exposing the poison which lies at the heart of the Conservative Party and No 10.’
The Radcliffe Rules cover the possibility that ‘those writing memoirs may wish to check the documents from their time in office’.