Fur coat and no knickers…

Oh dear, Violet Elizabeth Nadine Dorries is in a bit of a snit at the moment…

The press conference yesterday almost became a fiasco.

To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t really expected anyone to turn up. So when I walked into a room full of cameras and journalists, it was a bit of a shock to say the least.

I arrived in the room just as a jobs-worth security guard from the Himmler school of charm and diplomacy, called the Palace of Westminster police to escort the cameramen off the estate.

It took a call to the deputy Sergeant at Arms to discover that we could audio record only. And the use of that would be what? In case I forgot what I said?

It appears the House of Commons’ authorities had decided that my press conference was OK for radio. But not TV.

Just who are these faceless people who occupy hundreds, nay thousands of offices in this Palace, which belongs to the people, and the representatives of the people?

Who are these nameless bureaucrats who tell an elected MP sent to Parliament by the people, that I can’t film in a room which broadcasts committee meetings every day to the nation, from five permanent suspended cameras?

Who are these people sat in plush offices centred around the chamber whilst MPs walk miles to and fro each day, and camp out in corridors and the library; and by what right do they tell me that an event planned to launch a major campaign, aimed at amending legislation, cannot continue?

Someone who has a democratic right, a far greater right than any jobs-worth officious rude security guard, to be here.

Who has the right to run this place? Is it the people or the bureaucrats?

Who indeed?

Well it seems Nadine’s ‘who’, the ‘faceless people’ and ‘nameless bureaucrats’ have names after all, so without further ado let’s name them.

Mr Frank Doran MP – Aberdeen North (Chairman)
Janet Anderson MP – Rossendale & Darwen
Rt Hon Mr Nicholas Brown MP – Newcastle upon Tyne East and Wallsend
Mr Simon Burns MP – West Chelmsford
Mr Christopher Chope MP – Christchurch
Rt Hon Tom Clarke MP – Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
Derek Conway MP (?) – Old Bexley & Sidcup
Mr Brian H Donohoe MP – Central Ayrshire
Mr Neil Gerrard MP – Walthamstow
Mr John Heppell MP – Nottingham East
Mr Kevan Jones MP – North Durham
Rt Hon Greg Knight MP – East Yorkshire
David Lepper MP – Brighton, Pavilion
Mr John Randall MP – Uxbridge
John Thurso MP – Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Pete Wishart MP – Perth and North Perthshire

Of course the whole business of issuing permits for photography and filming on the parliamentary estates isn’t handled personally by any of these MPs; that’s the job of Parliamentary staff, but overall responsibility for parliament’s photographic and filming regulation resides with the Administration Committee, the members of which I’ve listed above.

It’s said that only a poor workman blames his tools and its only a lousy MP who blames the staff of the House of Commons for her own rank incompetence in failing to make the proper arrangements for a press conference and then comes the hectoring ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ act.

The answer last question being almost certain ‘Yes – and I don’t give a fuck!”

You know, I can just hear Ma Boswell’s opinion of Dorries, ‘All fur coat and no knickers, that one… and no mistake”.

  • I love that on May 6 she breathlessly describes the event as “My first ever press conference”. There’s no holding her back, is there?
    http://www.dorries.org.uk/Blogs/2008/May/06#06

  • bill baker

    From the Commons leaflet setting out the rules on filming in Parliament, set by the Administration Committee:

    Filming and Photography
    Direct Arrangements
    Members may make their own arrangements for filming and photography in the following areas:

    Members own offices.
    The Interview Rooms, Westminster Hall Annexe, and in Portcullis House, the Jubilee Room and Conference and Meeting Rooms in the Parliamentary Outbuildings at times when they are normally available. Please call the Serjeant at Arms Office to book a room. (x3090)
    The Terrace for personal interviews, before noon
    New Palace Yard for personal interviews before 2pm.

    Exclusions
    Filming and photography in connection with advertising, fund raising or for commercial purposes may not take place at any time; nor may the following areas be used without the express permission of the Administration Committee:

    The Chambers, Division Lobbies, Members Lobbies or Committee Rooms of either House.
    Any place along the Line of Route when it is open.
    Rooms or offices to which visitors are not normally admitted.
    Interview Points Central Lobby, Committee Corridor, Atrium and Outside Macmillan Room, Portcullis House
    These areas are available for interviews with Members or for an introduction or commentary on specific business of the House
    Should be booked through the Admission Order Office x3700 or Portcullis House Reception Desks x 4141
    Crews of 3 or less, and all should be photo identity pass holders
    Filming or Photography by other Agencies
    If requests are made to Members to arrange filming or photography under any circumstances other than those described, enquiries should be directed to the Assistant Serjeant at Arms, on extension 3050.

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