So, after so many exciting pre-publication puffs, Nadine Dorris’s book, The Plot, is out.
She has, she says, “talked to well over 50 people. From prime ministers and party leaders, through Cabinet ministers, to civil servants and back benchers. From party grandees to special advisers. All had the same tale to tell…” It is a story, she says, that has never been told, but just so you know, the subtitle gives the gist: “The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson”.
Here are some of the choicest claims:
1. There is a small group of men, most of them unelected…operating at the heart of the Conservative Party” and “for 25 years or more they have set out to control the destiny of the Conservative Party”. They raise up ministers and cast down others, including popular Prime Ministers.
2. They include: Dominic Cummings, Munira Mirza (from Boris’s City Hall days), Dougie Smith (Munira’s husband and Number 10 adviser), Lee Cain, Sue Gray, and several members of staff at The Spectator. Or as one observer put it, “there’s one behind every desk at No. 10”.
3. Worst is the nameless Dr No. He is paid by Conservative Central Office, loiters round the fringes of sex parties and scenes of violence and is so evil he once quartered the pet bunny of his former girlfriend’s little brother and nailed it to their front door.
4. Michael Gove is apparently omnipresent – “Gove’s people were like mice; they were everywhere” and he “binds all the dark arts people together”.
5. A Tory MP was allegedly involved in a very comprising situation. A source tells Dorries: “If I told you that one of those situations [of bad behaviour] recently involved an MP having sex with a prostitute while four MPs stood around and watched him, cheering him on, would that surprise you?” She says yes.
6. Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove were in favour of the hardest possible lockdown, pushing against Boris, who was reluctant to close down the economy. This is an actually important revelation.
7. Boris knew nothing about lockdown parties at Number 10. He was somewhere else on Fridays, Chequers apparently.
8. Boris is a genius. He ran rings around world leaders at the G8 meetings because he was so much better informed than they were. “’[He told them] you are mistaken to appease Putin, here is why, and he gave them all a history lesson, they listened in stunned silence and he left them with no place to go … His historical knowledge of the region is immense and the G8 leaders got a sense of that pretty quickly"
9. Boris is also not political. "There is no politician’s side to Boris and that is why the media slaughter him".
10. Boris turned down an honour after his stint as London mayor. "He has never said what it was but I assumed it was a knighthood or a peerage. He was almost confused at the offer. ‘But I was just doing my job?’ he had said and refused the gong. If he had accepted it, he would maybe have been Sir boris Johnson for the past ten years, but he flatly refused whatever was on offer."
11. Boris loves keeping his promises. This may come as a surprise to some. "He was obsessed with delivering on his manifesto promises; he’s a bit old-fashioned like that," a source tells Dorries.
12. Carrie Johnson is much maligned, especially in respect of her expenses record when she worked at Conservative Campaign Headquarters.
13. So is Liz Truss, who is “an outsider”, which is why the Establishment hated her. Apparently, she “burns with the heat of a hundred thousand suns” on small government and low taxes. The stuff in the sex dossier which circulated about her before she became PM was “just ridiculous”. Therefore it would seem her ministerial appointments were unaffected by previous close friendships.
14. The coffee in Number 10 is disgusting. “If [Simon Case] wanted to give the appearance of being good at his job, why didn’t he just get someone to sort out the coffee?’ Visitors are also served very common bacon rolls. “Who eats this shit?” asked a corporate informant.
15. If you are entertaining informants discreetly there is no better place than the private members’ club, No 5 Hertford Street. “I was in no 5 Hertford St and met with a group of people who worked closely with Case. Glasses of cold white wine spritzers arrived with generous dish of nibbles for us to share in the middle of a silver tray…the fire in the small sitting room once again blazed.” There is no justice in this life if they don’t give her next year’s membership free.
16. One MP allegedly "kept safe a laptop containing indecent images of children, on behalf of a paedophile relative, and then swore to police he was only keeping it safe".
17. Even Boris Johnson was unsure about Nadine Dorries' obsession with Michael Gove. "'All roads lead back to Michael Gove,’ I said. ‘Yeah, well, maybe’. He swerved the conversation away from Gove onto the leaky MP who planted stories on behalf of Cummings."
18. Nadine Dorries cast an admiring eye at Iain Duncan Smith. "Not for the first time, I thought to myself, he was probably really quite good-looking in his day."
19. The ex MP is unable to appreciate irony. She writes about journalists who write political books: "Sometimes, of course, those sources are entirely dishonourable and rather than insert themselves into the footnotes of history, maliciously they rewrite it and use it as an opportunity to attack those who have climbed higher up the greasy pole than they may have managed and often, to kick others back down, because why wouldn’t they in exchange for a free lunch at Scott’s?"
20. She can be funny herself. On sitting between Jacob Rees-Mogg and Alister Jack in Cabinet meetings: "Our little rituals had become established in just a year and I loved every moment. I sat back in my chair and said to them both, 'Look at this, all three of us grew up on estates, but only mine was owned by the council.'"
21. Dorries hates Rishi Sunak's smile. "He saw me watching him and gave me a fixed and unnatural grin, the bleached dental white of his teeth almost blinding me in the reflected light."
22. The Conservatives whips' office "have a video of one of the most popular ministers in government today being given a blow-job by someone who most certainly is not his wife".
23. Dorries has a powerful imagination when it comes to thinking about how Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak might have discussed their resignations from Boris Johnson's government. "I’ll resign and open the trapdoor for you to encourage others to follow me and resign, and if you are successful and become Prime Minister, when I stand down at the next general election you put me in the Lords. I would never know if that conversation took place, but I could easily imagine it."
24. Dorries thinks people unironically refer to Dominic Cummings as The Dark Lord. "Not for the first time I wondered why no journalist had ever reported this bizarre fact about Cummings, that everyone addressed him as the Dark Lord. It was used as a term of respectful acknowledgement, not banter."
25. Michael Gove's "clan" of likeminded folk have a WhatsApp group for plotting named "The Order of the Phoenix".
26. Dorries doesn't like it when people put sugar in their drinks. "My source spooned sugar into his coffee and stirred as the spoon clattered against the side of his cup, and I wanted to reach out and take the spoon from his hand."
27. Rishi Sunak should have given Boris Johnson an opportunity to fire him before he quit. A source tells Dorries: "You have dinner with the boss the night before and you don’t have the bottle to even give him a clue? Perhaps say something like, 'I’m really unsettled, I’m creaking here; don’t be surprised if I need to resign.'"