Politics

‘Dangerous’ Dorries told to ‘wind neck in’ after sharing ‘distasteful’ image of Sunak

Sunak backed by Hands as Energy Minister criticises Truss

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The photoshopped image depicted Boris Johnson as Julius Caesar and Mr Sunak as one of his assassins. The post was in response to a tweet by Harry Cole, The Sun’s political editor, who asked: “Any update on the chatty rat leak? What happened to that guy?”

In response, a Twitter user calling themselves Ray | #BackBoris #LizForLeader shared the image, commenting: “He is running to become PM. His name is Rishi Sunak.”

Culture Secretary Ms Dorries, who is backing Ms Truss and who has been critical of Mr Sunak for his decision to resign as Chancellor, dealing a huge blow to Mr Johnson in the process, swiftly retweeted Ray’s post.

Sophie Wing, PA’s political correspondent, tweeted: “Nadine Dorries has been told to ‘wind her neck in’ by fellow Conservative ministers after making ‘distasteful’ and ‘dangerous’ interventions on behalf of Liz Truss in the Tory leadership contest.”

Speaking on Sky News, Energy minister and fellow Tory Greg Hands, who is backing Mr Sunak in the race to replace Mr Johnson as party leader, was also critical of the “appalling” image.

He said: “It is not even a year since the stabbing of Sir David… so I think this is very, very bad taste, dangerous even.

“I do find it distasteful and I do find it, less than a year after the stabbing of our colleague, in very, very poor taste, even verging on dangerous.”

One of Ms Dorries’ allies attempted to downplay the controversy, saying: “It’s quite obviously a satirical image of Brutus and Ceasar which has been clearly photoshopped to provide political commentary.

“There were similar cartoons involving Michael Gove in 2016.

Ms Dorries, the Tory MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, has been scathing about Mr Sunak in recent weeks, not least when she disparagingly compared his expensive designer suits with Foreign Secretary Ms Truss’s earrings from Claire’s Accessories.

Writing subsequently in yesterday’s Daily Mail, she said: “A tweet I posted last week highlighted Liz Truss’s choice of £4.50 earrings and Rishi Sunak’s decision to wear £450 Prada shoes to visit a Teesside building site, while also donning a £3,500 suit for a leadership debate. It caused a bit of a storm, to say the least, quickly clocking up over ten million views.

“Some people of course will want to be wilfully offended.”

“My comments were widely interpreted to be anti-aspirational and it was suggested that I was seeking revenge against the man who, while Chancellor, had been planning a coup for a very long time and who had ruthlessly and metaphorically stabbed Boris Johnson in the back.”

Significantly, given the content of the post she retweeted, she referred to the Shakespearean tragedy, adding: :Rishi had been plotting against the most electorally successful Prime Minister the Conservative Party has known since the days of Margaret Thatcher.

“His actions made Michael Gove’s betrayal of Boris Johnson during the 2016 leadership campaign appear like a rank amateur rehearsing for the role of Brutus in a village hall play.”

(More to follow)

My comments were widely interpreted to be anti-aspirational and it was suggested that I was seeking revenge against the man who, while Chancellor, had been planning a coup for a very long time and who had ruthlessly and metaphorically stabbed Boris Johnson in the back.

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