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The “political tragedy” behind Boris’s fall

Nadine Dorries with Johnson: her future could have been so different

Perhaps the “most unbelievable” thing about Boris Johnson, says Marina Hyde in The Guardian, is that he still has allies willing to defend him. There they were, on “the nicest weekend of the year so far”, dutifully ringing up journalists to insist that the man they call “Big Dog” hadn’t in fact “soiled the rug”. All this “slavish loyalty” for someone who “would have betrayed them in a heartbeat if he thought there was some minuscule, fleeting advantage for himself”. One suspects that if these sycophants discovered that Johnson had been sleeping with their wives, their immediate response would be to “apologise for not having changed the sheets for him”.

There’s something sad about all this. Consider Nadine Dorries, the Boris bootlicker who has been “wailing” about being denied a peerage. Few observers will feel much sympathy for the former culture secretary. Yet things could have been so different. Dorries has an incredible story: born into “terrible poverty”, she began her career as a nurse, before building her own business and then becoming a bestselling author. Had she properly leveraged the skills and compassion that brought her all that success, who knows how high she could have risen in Westminster? Instead she tied her fortunes to Johnson, and that’s how she’ll be remembered: an “attack dog” who didn’t even get the bone she’d been promised as reward. Scoff if you like, but this is a minor “political tragedy”. Just as it is for all the others who Johnson “dragged down to his level”.

😇🏆 Dorries was a much better minister than her reputation in the media suggests, says The Sunday Times’s Tim Shipman on Twitter. “I know of one Whitehall official who has had eight secretaries of state and says she was the best.” Apparently she was “organised, knew what she wanted to do [and was] good at getting officials working for her”. And, crucially, she didn’t throw her weight around, so people found her “pleasant to be with”.