The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
The Other Place
Posted Saturday, 16 May 2009 at 08:29

I had hoped that I could retain some of my private life and keep it just that, private. It appears that this is now impossible.

 

The Telegraph has every right to ask questions and to hold politicians to account for the way they spend public money. But their reaction when I told them I would publish my response to their allegations on my blog was revealing. It appears that the general public is only entitled to hear the Telegraph’s version of the truth if they pay for a copy of the Telegraph. They also felt it necessary to phone CCHQ with veiled threats about what they could do to me in the future if I dared to post the letter they sent to me on my blog before they published their own article in today’s newspaper. I am afraid that the Telegraph doesn’t appear to get the ‘new media’. If anyone is going to publish anything about me, I will do it myself, first.

 

Yes I do claim for my second home in Bedfordshire using my ACA. I rent it. I never felt comfortable buying using tax payers money.

 

 I felt it very necessary that I should commute from my constituency to London on work days with the rest of my constituents, in the cattle truck trains, in the jams and delays even though I leave early in the morning and don’t arrive home most days until gone midnight, long after my fellow morning commuters are in bed.

 

But, yes, I do have another home. It was where I went to after I had finished my Parliamentary and constituency work and changed into a mother and looked after my girls. I lived in my main family Cotswold home until my marriage broke down in 2007. The family home was then sold. I then rented a home in the Cotswolds where my daughter went to school and where my ex husband looked after her from Monday to Thursday during school and Parliamentary term time. He then moved out before I arrived back and spent his time with a significant other and I stayed in the home, which I paid for from my own money. Sometimes, on the very late week nights I stay in London, at my own expense.

 

During Parliamentary recesses, when I am not in the constituency or the Cotswolds, I take my girls abroad. The rest of the time during weekends I finished work and spent my time in the Cotswolds preparing the week’s meals for my daughter, washing and ironing school uniforms, changing sheets, checking homework, and leaving to drive back to Bedfordshire when she was in bed late on a Sunday night when I had finished packing her school and PE  bag and hanging the week’s uniforms on her wardrobe door, just before my ex husband came back to take over.

 

I never wanted my constituents to think that I had another prime responsibility other than Bedfordshire and Parliament; maybe I should have been more open.

 

My daughter was due to start boarding school in September but instead she started at a school in Bedford. At the weekends we go back to the Cotswolds together, or, if I have to work such as this weekend, we stay in Bedfordshire.

During the Parliamentary term time, it is unusual for me not to have a constituency engagement.

 

I spend more nights away from my constituency home than I spend in it and I use it for the purpose of my work. I do, however, retain the right to have my daughter, or daughter’s with me depending on who is with me at the time.  It may only be a second home, however, it is a home.

 

So, to my constituents and no one else, I am sorry. My crime is that I haven’t owned up to you that I don’t always live here – that I have a private life, which has not always run smoothly. I couldn’t work harder for Bedfordshire than I already do - I have given it almost every day of my life since you elected me. In politics, my constituency always comes first, but in my private life my family does. I can’t apologise for that. What sort of person would I be if I did?

 

By trying to protect my girls and keeping the circumstances of my marriage break up private and the arrangements for looking after my youngest daughter in the family, I realise that I am in fact arousing suspicion.

 

I don’t have much more to say other than the posting of this blog will humiliate my daughters, but what else can I do? I have to make sure people understand that not everyone has a life which runs to plan. It really isn’t always a wonderful life and as a mother you just have to do what you have to do.

 
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I think this is still unclear. Now that your daughter has moved to a school in Bedford, are you STILL renting the property in the Cotswolds?
 
 
Tony said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Be strong Nadine. You could have enquired of the Daily Telegraph whether the reported £200,000 they paid for the CD containing expenses will be an allowablw expenses against their compnay's income?
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
It is a shame it has come to this Nadine but although there are some who take issue with your forthright manner (and sometimes political opportunism) you are a good MP and by far much better than many who sit the House. Well done. mm
 
 
Mark said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
You have nothing to apologise for Nadine. I have given up buying the Telegraph now since it now seems to stand for what is bad about this country. On the one hand they are happy to collaborate with the Government about their spin doctors and yet now they seem to be gunning for anyone without checking the facts first about expenses - poor journalism. It seems they are trying to wring every last dro p out of the money they paid for this information. Interesting that they also threaten you to the party - what low lifes. Maybe we can have an expose on the dead tree press expenses now.
 
 
ed said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Nadine- I think that practically covers matters and it suggests that not only are you within the "letter" of the law, you are most importantly within the spirit of it. This episode goes to show that each case needs to be seen on its own merits, rather than lumped together under some "gate". There are individuals and indeed couples who clearly manipulated the system, and those are the ones who should face consequences. Perhaps you should have been more direct about your circumstances but I appreciate your concern about your family and the appearance it might give to your constituents. We do want representatives, not robots; your situation is close to the human mean.
 
 
andy green said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
well done nadine ..you did well on the news yesterday and came across as honest...this blog today reveals many personal details that really you should not have to make public about private domestic family issues....i admire your bravery....keep on stay strong...the good things will out in the end ...you have done nothing wrong...well done....
 
 
the pro from dover said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Don't dwell on this; if you are in public life, first thing in the morning -look at yourself in the mirror and say, I am an honest man(wumman). If the person looking back at you is honest and honorable, you will see it, clear as day. (and that is what the public see too) Then take a deep breath and go off to battle for the day. Content- You need to sort out the middle section "daughter/daughters" got understandably lost.
 
 
John said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Dear Ms Dorries I had planned to write a well considered and reflective comment about the hounding you have received from the Telegraph, but I find myself so incensed by their Macarthyite tactics that I ask you to forgive this inevitably woolly communication. Ben Brogan has claimed that he and his 25 investigative journos have been courageous! By acting like the Stasi and throwing so much muck that some is bound to stick. Of course the system under which you and your colleagues operate is flawed; and undoubtedly it could be better. But if the media deliberately choose to drip feed this story in order to foment public anger even to the level of social unrest then surely they are as guilty as any terrorist. Because that is what the law of unintended consequences could well lead to. Does the Telegraph have an end game? Do they know what they are trying to achieve? Is their objective to force as many MPs as possible to consider that the job isn’t worth the hurt and aggravation to them and their families thereby driving many of them to give the whole thing up? And if that were to happen what happens to our fragile democracy. Do we, the public, wake up one day with no practical parliament? After all new parliamentary candidates don’t grow on trees; alternatives would take a considerable amount of time to find. The Telegraph’s shock horror probe will undoubtedly make talented people run a mile from putting themselves forward, thereby defeating the objective of attracting good, inventive minds. I am not one of you constituents, Ms Dorries, though through Ian Dale I read your blog most days. So I suppose the purpose of this note is to wish you “bon courage” as the French say. And your daughters, who as healthy teenagers might well be cringing over the whole thing, hopefully will be proud of you. As someone said to one of your predecessors, “don’t let the buggers get you down”. Best wishes John
 
 
Disgusted Grange-over_sands said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Well done you've earned my respect- how about speaker when vacancy?
 
 
Simple Tory said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Nadine, Loved your response to The Telegraph - really gutsy!! Their campaign started well but has gone on far too long and this daily drip-feed is now a distration to the democratic process currently underway with Council and Euro elections. ALL Conservative MP's should publish ALL their expenses, in full, immediately to blunt any further Telegraph revelations. This declaration and an URGENT review of MP's salary and expenses is now overdue. Your next campaign perhaps? Keep up the good work, keep blogging and thanks for the return of comments! ST P.S. Still got that red dress???
 
 
Ian said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Nadine, whilst I do not necessarily share your political views and would probably never vote for you - you come across as one MP who is "straight as a die" and that as other commenters have said - you should not have to apologise or explain your private situation to the world via the internet. There are many many other MPs both in your Party,Labour and LibDem who should be more ashamed of their actions and who have not yet deigned to explain themselves adequately to the electorate but arrogantly continue to claim they have "acted within the rules"!They are the ones who deserve to pilloried not honest MPs like yourself.
 
 
D P Dance said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
It is a pity that you were less than frank with us in the first place. Those who help fund your second home (taxpayers), have an absolute right to know that it is indeed your second home. Perhaps this will be a lesson to you not to treat us as idiots.
 
 
Simon said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
The Teleraph do take a rather high handed approach don't they? Rather similar to the sort of demands I get from various government bodies trying to chisel money out of me. You understandably don't like their attitude. What have you or the Tories ever done to curb the arrogant jobsworths that harass us every day? Nothing. You are just getting a dose of what the rest of the population has to put up with all the time.The State bludgeons us daily with their demands for taxes and erosion of our liberties. Now you know what it's like I hope you will start to listen to people and act on their concerns. Don't stand by next time a draconian piece of legislation goes through Parliament, oppose it.
 
 
Martin said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I refer to you blog of 9th May 2009: 'I’m in the Cotswolds. Removed from the stench of Westminster and the pleasurable distractions of my constituency. I’m breathing in air which is free from political pollution, other than the odd whiff of horse manure'. Well how appropiate,talking about the stench of Westminster,the pollution of the same place and the horse manure for which one of your Tory MPs is now famous.I dare say that your reply to the Daily Telegraph has a bit of a ' pong' about it. It will be interesting to see how it all ends.
 
 
Peter said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I heard a good story about a Times journalist the other day. RThis guy put in an expenses claim for lunch with Ken Clarke. The reporter's boss called him in and told him: "Did you know I had lunch with Ken Clarke that day?!" The journalist thought for a minute before saying: "The greedy bastard!"
 
 
Richard said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
You have done nothing wrong, Nadine. You are an honest and forthright MP who makes a bold stand on issues many others dare not touch. You have a right to your privacy and to protect your family's privacy. As for the Daily Telegraph, how dare they adopt such a lofty tone? One thing that definitely IS a crime is receiving stolen goods.
 
 
Keith said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Good comments Nadine. Let's now hope that this dies a death. 'Keep buggering on' as Churchill once said.
 
 
Brian E. said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Unfortunately, the Daily Telegraph seems to think a person's main home is where they spend most of their time. As an Engineer, during my career, I spent far more time in "second homes" ranging from dingy hotel rooms to swish apartments, dependent upon the location of my current project. This never once changed the fact that my main home over some 30 years was in Buckinghamshire, it being the place to which I returned when ever I could. I see no problem with you having a main home that is rarely visited; it is those MPs (of all parties) whom nominate their main home as being a flat in London, and then state that their second home is a massive place in the country on which they claim huge expenses, which I find objectionable. If the main home is the place where a person spends the most time. presumably then the main home for most soldiers these days would be a tent somewhere in Afghanistan!
 
 
Stephen said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Dear Ms Dorries. Congratulations on your vigorous response to countering the allegations made against you by the Telegraph. I am sorry that it should come to this, that you should have to reveal these details about your personal life, which is something I believe everyone should be able to have. I believe that you seem and are entirely honest in this regard. It is sad you have been forced to do this by both the aggressiveness of the Telegraph and the sleaze and venality of a few of your fellow MPs. If you don't mind I will pray for you during this difficult time. Yours Sincerely, Stephen Wigmore
 
 
Crossfire said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Rights thats it! Enough words. Anyone who has anything else bad to say about Nadine can meet me in Parliament Square on Monday lunchtime for a good kicking. Who wants it first?
 
 
Tory Blair said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Crossfire: interesting idea but you would both be arrested for anti-Terrorism offences and held without charge for 42 days.
 
 
Crossfire said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Sounds Ok to me Tory Blair. Form an orderly queue boys - I'm afraid you'll all have to wait for 42days after the bloke in front of you gets it - for your beating.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
hmm, alot of single mums have to go through exactly the same thing you do. I would like to bet that none of them has access to 24k of housing expenses. why are you so special? I have no interest in your private life, only on what you do with our money. I think your argument a bloody joke considering parliament is collecting more information on its citizens than any other time in British history. If you had any dignity left you would resign. Keep sel ecting only the comments that support you and living in a dreamworld next election you'll be out of a job and have to face reality.
 
 
Pat said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
This is pretty ridiculous. Your job moved from the Cotswolds to Bedford several years ago. Lots of teachers move jobs, similarly. The state doesn't pay for them to keep their old home where they previously had their children in school. People have to move town for work. It is an upheaval. You seem to expect the state to pay for you alone not to do that. Why? Why you and not a teacher? When your landlord refused to give your deposit back, that happens to everyone, why is the state paying for your deposit, and not a teachers? Why have I not seen you campaigning for tenants rights? For the rights of teachers to ghave two homes paid for them if their daughters are in school and their parents move for work? It's the scale of the sense of entitlement that I find particularly upsetting. You seem to compare yourself against people of huge wealth. That is what you think normal is. That is how you think we should pay for you. I don't think it's going to help you empathise with a normal voter. A teacher. Who doesnt expect the state to pay for their two homes, simply because they'd rather not properly move for work.
 
 
Peter Barnett said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
It's interesting how the comments can revise your perspective on an issue. I agree that The Telegraph is blatantly milking this story and support the response from Ms Norris. However, MPs seem to have singularly failed to understand the public's anger at the obvious injustice that is inherent in the system.
 
 
Hannah said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Well done Nadine, unlike teachers, your job is 24/7, invasive and scrutinised. I am sorry you had to reveal so much in such an awful way
 
 
Crossfire said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Peter Barnett - you got away with that one neatly. Now come on who is first for the good news on Monday. Its 12 o'clock sharp under the big clock.
 
 
Ted said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I've not read this blog before, but I applaud the balanced restored to the endless coverage on this difficult issue. By refuting the allegations, you show this issue to be far less black and white than many have assumed- that's not to say many MPs don't have real allegations to answer though. Wish you were my MP (I have Mr Galloway, sadly).
 
 
mark said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Unfortunately because of recent events (the smear campaign) it would seem that your name is in lights, and therefore supposed 'fair game' for the sanctimonious outpour of the free press at this time. Basically, you have been dragged into this and forced into some explanation of your circumstances because of the fact that this expenses mess has been like a dormant volcano for many years, with no-one seemingly having either the courage ot the will to make it transparent, fair, and beyond reasonable criticism. Hopefully, looking at the bigger picture, we (not me, parliament!) can use this moment in time to make radical changes, and not just tweak the edges like GB would like. The public are angry and will accept no less. And it has to be said, that the whole that is parliament is to blame. This is the age of communication, and secrets (dodgy expense claims from some MP's) no longer stay secret or hidden from the masses. I wish you well, and would just say that people dislike the press immensely, if that is any consolation. Hopefully your constituency work and that of many others will save the day long after this has ignited overdue reform of the ancient tradition that is parliament.
 
 
James said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
You don't have to say you are sorry. Take care of your girls through all of this. The Telegraph are scum. I will never buy it again, Daily Mail for me from now on.
 
 
S. Weasel said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Huh. I've been around the innerwebs a long, long time. I find the ratio of positive to negative comments in this thread HIGHLY implausible.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I'm sorry Nadine, but the teacher made a good point. Why didn't you move your family base when you took up your job as an MP? Why should public money be used to support your Cotswold home? I do appreciate the difficult personal circumstances you find yourself in, but guess what, we all find ourselves in difficult circumstances from time to time, but we don't all expect public money to bale us out. I think the best that can be said about you is that you're by no means the worst of the bunch and that everyone else was doing it so why shouldn't you (which seems to be the culture that pervades Westminster). But that's a heck of a way from maintaining it's all ethical and even somehow "honorable". I'm all in favour of MP's receiving the appropriate support to enable then to do their job. But this is just another one of the many instances where I don't believe public money has been used appropriately.
 
 
Brishank said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Nadine, you have chosen a high profile job. You are in the public eye - rightly so because you are accountable to your constituants and general public. You regularly write in this blog about your daughters, family, and friends. Taking all that into consideration, why was it so difficult to reveal you spend most of your time 'somewhere else' other than your constituancy home? I really don't understand. By initially refusing to disclose the whereabouts of your 'somewhere else' it just made you look just like another dodgy MP with something to hide, much to the dismay of myself and, no doubt, others. And as far as I can see, the Telegraph is only reporting what receipts have been submitted to the Fees Office and any correspondence relating to disputed claims. The fact is, a receipt for an overnight stay at a hotel was submitted by your office. Regardless of your denial you stayed at the hotel on that night a receipt was submitted by you (you are responsible for your staff's actions when they act on your behalf. I can understand your frustration, I really can. But unless the Telegraph makes a false accusation, or insinuation, you have to trust us, the public, to have the intelligence and common sense to see how things really are. We are not all stupid sheep who tar every MP with the tag of 'fraudster' but we do want clarity and transparency in all matters that affect the public purse.
 
 
Mike Spilligan said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I'm glad that you responded robustly to the Telegraph's letter. Although we need investigative journalism (many seem to have forgotten Guido and McBride all too soon) the browbeating tone adopted by the DT was unnecessary, particularly as no body of people ever elected its editor or its journalists - among whom, at large among the media, are the most pampered, over-rated and despised in our population. How many of those disagreeing with your stance have got 24/7 jobs; and how many could "cast the first stone" with a clear conscience?
 
 
Deborah said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
It's just a shame you weren't more transparent in the first place. I'm still not sure why these arrangements were so sensitive?
 
 
Bill said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Publish your diary to prove your honesty. Post your reply to this request. This is also being published on Guido's blog!
 
 
Woodward said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Nadine. Who do you think planted the hotel invoice in your office. Looks suspicious to me
 
 
Mike H said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I fail to understand why the Telegraph are bothering to make an issue over receipts that included a 'disallowed item'. It's entirely right that MP's expenses are under scrutiny - it's long overdue - but the Telegraph are at risk of undermining their own cause by raising such petty examples. When I submitted my expenses to my employer (mainly hotels, meals, etc for overnight stays) the company accounts department had to split the receipt out line by line and allocate each element to the appropriate cost code. Because the accounts department had to scrutinise each receipt so closely, there was little point in the claimant doing anything other than submitting the complete receipt. On payment at the end of the month each claimant would receive a report detailing the amounts refunded. Drinks, newspapers, etc, were just removed by the accounts staff as a normal function of processing the expenses claim. Because the system happened to work this way, the presence of an alcohol charge on the receipt didn't mean that I was trying to claim for booze on an overnight stay. So why is the Telegraph bothering to mention 'disallowed claims' for items like alcoholic drinks?
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I`m sure you`ll get lots of support as you are obviously a decent MP and mother. The Telegraph is clearly now scraping the barrel to help its circulation rather than doing a public service. If all MP`s started exposing the expenses fiddles of journalists this would suddenly go quiet. How about you name the one who took home the wine.
 
 
Emma said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Anon - I think we must understand that no public money funds Nadine's private home in the Cotswolds and any other details surrounding this is her buisness only.
 
 
Geoff said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I still think you're one of the good guys.
 
 
Rachel said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Isn't the purpose of the second home allowance to allow someone to pay either for a home in their constituency if their main home is in London, or to pay for the London home, if the main home is in the consituency? I did not think it was possible to use the allowance to pay for the consituency home if the main home is somewhere else entirely. Please clarify and print this comment.
 
 
Elizabeth said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
It would be a great deal easier if in future PPC's actually lived in the area they wished to represent. If this where the case then MPs would not need to write humiliating blogs and reveal details about their private lives thus embarrass their children. I hope your girls are OK Nadine.
 
 
jacqui williams said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I knew you were not on the fiddle. I have always thought that the Telegraph was doing all this mjust to sell more copies and so boost their circulation. The telegraph used to be a Tory paper but I do not think it is now, it seems to have glossed over what the Labour Ministers and MPs having been doing. Hazel Blears has paid that money back but it is a smokescreen for the other stuff. What about Hoon Smith Balls Cooper etc. I do not think you should have had to disclose what you have been forced to as long as the appropiate people knew what business was it of anyone else. I wish you good luck Nadine and keep your pecker up
 
 
Lily said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
As a mum, i can only begin to imagine how hard you must work and how many hours you must put in. i don't know how you do it Nadine. reading between the lines it looks as though you have had some hardship to endure. i hope you have somone to give you a cuddle.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Suggest you remove the Fra du lent Claim comment Nadine. They only go and boast on other sites that you foolishly let an anti-Nadine comment through.
 
 
Ollie, London said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Dear Nadine - you are a very brave, gutsy woman and someone whose views and campaigns in parliament I have long admired. As a woman there are few apart from yourself and Theresa May who I feel are women to be championed in parliament. I know your constituents will bear testament to all your hard work. I see some of what the telegraph has done as necessary but now I see how they had treated you on this matter when you decided to call their bluff on your blog - I'm absolutely appalled. I can only think that the Telegraph's motives are to increase circulation and to force more support to anti-european parties. Make no mistake this was an anti-european agenda to tear apart the forthcoming elections outcome with expenses used as a smokescreen story (though in my view many of these expenses needed to be revealed as they are quite appalling re non-mortgage claims etc). Keep your head high as I know you will. I respect you a great deal. While your at it p.s. I hope that the tories can raise their game on their real views on europe or you will lose many votes to UKIP.
 
 
Owen said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
Go Nadine. You stick to your guns... Your honesty shines through like a beacon. Best Regards - Owen
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I really hope you are faultless after all these messages of support. Good luck.
 
 
Allan Palmer said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
I know you are a good MP and I feel sure you are a great Mum so don,t let them grind you down. Remember we have to have lows to appriciate the highs so lets hope they are just around the corner before the choci biscuits run out. Take care of yourself and family first. x
 
 
steve said:
Responded: Saturday, 16 May 2009
life and divorce are messy things, not as such to be made public,well I wouldn't. You have been caught up in a whirlpool of Labour sleaze,keep the faith and you will come through it all.Wish I could have an MP like you. I'd ask you out (lol).
 
 
Fred Ulent said:
Responded: Sunday, 17 May 2009
We believe in you, Nadine!
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 18 May 2009
As a life-long Labour supporter, I am surprised to say that I fully support you. You are clearly not making any PROFIT from the taxpayer as you are renting and you, and more importantly your daughters, have a right to a family life.
 
 
 
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at: nadine.dorries.mp@parliament.uk
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

 
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