WITH the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill heading back to the Commons this week, Nadine Dorries MP has been drumming up self-publicity support for her stance on abortion.
Nadine got some publicity last time round by spreading the myth that Labour had an unofficial whip on the abortion vote when it last came up. Now she’s at it again.
In May she was claiming that “Labour abandoned the free vote principle by whipping their MPs on a three line whip ‘to attend the chamber’. I saw the whipping note, a copy of it was left for us to see.”
Now she’s claiming it was Harriet Harman alone who whipped the vote.
Maybe it’s because Nadine hasn’t been an MP for long, but she clearly doesn’t realise that there is no such thing as a whip that forces MPs to “attend the chamber”. She claimed back in May that Labour whips were encouraging Labour MPs to walk into the pro-choice lobby; funny, then, that I walked into the lobby in favour of 20 weeks and found myself accompanied by Nadine and… four Labour whips.
Women’s abortion rights are important to Harriet, and I would be astonished if she had not attempted to persuade as many colleagues as possible to vote to maintain 24 weeks. And I know that Nadine did the same on the other side of the argument. But when Harriet did it, it was “whipping”; when Nadine did it, it was “lobbying”.
In fact, I was approached by only two people asking me to vote one way or the other. Anne Snelgrove, the Swindon MP and a good friend, tutted and shook her head when I told her I would be voting for a lower limit – gosh, some real arm-twisting from the Sisters there, eh?
And who else whipped lobbied me? Oh, that’s right – Nadine Dorries.
Nadine has been trying for some time now to make abortion a party political issue. She justifies this by claiming that Labour made it a political issue first by whipping Commons votes. Now that I’ve pointed out that this never happened, she should withdraw that accusation. She won’t.
Nadine Dorries must gaze on her new heroine, Sarah Palin, and wonder why she has found it so difficult to import into the UK the rancid politics of hate that the Alaskan governor and her followers thrive upon. To give her her due, Nadine is trying her best.
But along with the great majority of her own party, I sincerely hope and pray that she fails, as she deserves to.
UPDATE at 11.36 pm: One other thing… If you can be bothered clicking the above link to Nadine’s 27 May entry, you’ll find this reference…
“I love the picture of Harriet Harman watching my speech from behind the speaker’s chair, hand on hip – with a look that says it all!”
to this picture…
Except, this is a composite picture, made up of two separate events: HH is clearly listening, not to Nadine but to the Deputy Speaker, Sir Alan Haselhurst. How egocentric is Nadine?