Throughout her efforts to introduce greater restrictions on access to abortion services, Nadine Dorries has claimed to be neither part of the ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’ lobby and that she is not motivated in her efforts by her personal religious beliefs.
And, all along, bloggers like myself have had a very simple response to such claims – BULLSHIT!
It’s taken a while to pin down some solid evidence to prove that, far from being an independent and non-aligned voice in this debate, Dorries is just the clean-skin trojan horse for the evangelical Christian right but the problem with lying is that somewhere, somehow, you’re bound to slip up…
…and Dorries has done just that.
On Monday, Dorries launched her personal campaign website at www.the20weekscampaign.org, and in case you can’t stomach a visit, here’s a screenshot of the home page I took only a few moments ago:
There’s a big photo of Nad in the top right corner, so there’s no way of getting away from this one.
Now I think we all know that Nad’s no web designer, so she must have had a fair bit of help putting this site together, but where has that help come from?
Well, a WHOIS search on the domain provides the following information on the registration of the site:
Registrant Name:David Clark
[Address Information omitted – looks to be personal]
David Clark? Who he?
Well, its the email address that’s the dead giveaway, as the domain ccfon.org is owner by an organisation called ‘Christian Concern For Our Nation‘, as its WHOIS record clearly indicates:
Registrant Name:David Clark Registrant Organization:Christian Concern for our Nation Registrant Street1:PO Box 655 Registrant City:Haywards Heath Registrant State/Province:West Sussex Registrant Postal Code:RH169AT Registrant Email:email@example.com
Clark is a founder member of CCFON (and its in-house webmaster/designer) which is an offshoot of the Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship, as its ‘about us‘ page notes:
Christian Concern for our Nation (CCFON) is part of the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship and exists to serve the Church by providing information to enable Christians to publicly stand up against a tide of unchristian legal and political changes in the United Kingdom.
CCFON was established to inform and empower Christians to speak with a coherent and cohesive voice against ungodly and unjust laws, and to speak up for righteousness and justice. This is for the benefit of the nation.
While CCFON is part of the LCF the inspiration and support for this enabling and empowering outlet has come, in particular, from David Clark, Ade Omooba, and Sam Solomon. Andrea Minichiello Williams directs CCFON and is also Public Policy Director of the LCF. CCFON also sub-contracts OCM Films Ltd to offer media production support services.
It’s actually just a little more than that. The Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship is a registered charity and therefore limited in its ability to engage in political campaigning – charities can only campaign on the basis of well-founded evidence, which tends to fuck over organisations like this right from the outset – so you could consider to be the LCF’s Provisional wing.
And as you might expect, once you’ve tracked Dorries’ campaign website to a group like CCFON, then its not long before other interesting links and connections emerge, like this one from the website of the ‘Conservative Christian Fellowship‘:
CCF Prayer Breakfasts
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings of the conference we were joined at our prayer breakfasts by Nadine Dorries MP, Alistair Burt MP, the Free Churches Group, and Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve. On each day the speakers discussed their experiences carrying their faith through politics and our responsibility as Christians to ensure that we show the love of Jesus Christ wherever we are engaged. We had between sixty and one hundred people at each of the breakfasts and it was a great time of fellowship and of meeting many new people.
The CCF, which apparently has/had 27 members, lists amongst its trustees, David Burrowes MP, Andrew Selous MP and its most high profile member and Conservative Party Chairman, Caroline Spelman MP.
And a quick check of the Parliamentary Register of Official Bag-carriers Interests of Member’s Secretaries and Research Assistants shows that…
David Burrowes MP, who is a junior Shadow Justice Minister, sponsors Paul Wooley, who just happens to be the Director of Conservative Christian Fellowship and the Studies Co-ordinator for CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) and Elizabeth Berridge, CCF’s Executive Director.
Andrew Selous MP sponsors Cameron Watt, the Deputy Director of Conservative Christian Fellowship and a Policy Analyst with Renewing One Nation (a Conservative party social policy unit).
And as for Caroline Spelman, well the Indy pointed out a short while back that Spelman sponsors Rachel Anderson, who is funded by a scholarship received from CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) a registered charity, as an intern on their graduate training scheme.
Another CCF member is Gary Streeter MP, whose register entry list two interns, Michael Rutt and Kyle Scott, both of whom are sponsored by CARE’s graduate training scheme.
Training in what, exactly? Political infiltration techniques?
And the Indy also identified Stephen Crabb MP as sponsoring a CARE intern, although this is not indicated by his entry. On the other hand, he does definitely sponsor Benedict Rogers, an Advocacy Officer with Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
And guess what?
Dig a little further and what we find is this…
The CCF was founded approximately 15 years ago, by David Burrowes M.P. and Tim Montgomerie whilst they were students at Exeter University. The CCF exists to be a vibrant Christian witness within the Conservative Party. As the Conservative Christian Fellowship we aim to follow Christ with our hearts, souls, strength and minds; playing our part in the redemption of culture and individual lives. There are three key focuses to the work of the CCF.
And yes, that is THE Tim Mongomerie, founder of Conservative Home, founding director of the defunct 18 Doughty Street and the man rumoured by the gossip columns to be Dorries’ number one post-divorce squeeze – or maybe he’s just escorting her to and from prayer meetings rather than playing hide the communion wafer.
And the same Tim Montgomerie who ran two anti-abortion videos at Conservative Home back in February to mark David Cameron’s decision to publicly support Dorries’ campaign, giving us yet another link back to the CCF, as the same short article also announces the launch of ‘Passion For Life‘ – another anti-abortion website (amongst other things), this time supported by the All Party ‘Pro-Life’ group.
And the name on the WHOIS record for this site?
Ian Lucas, c/o House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
Lucas is a trustee of…
…the Conservative Christian Fellowship, whose biography on the CCF website gives us this information:
Ian is a local businessman in Eastbourne, a former director of The Eastbourne Garden Company. He is formerly Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, representing the Old Town Ward until May 2007, and remains Deputy Chairman of Eastbourne Conservative Constituency Association (ECCA). Ian was the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate at the 2005 General Election in Walsall North, reducing the incumbent Labour MP’s majority with a swing of 4.6%, which was the highest West Midlands swing on the day. Ian is married with 5 children.
And, completing the circle, the entry for Nadine Dorries shows that she sponsors Sam Coates, the Deputy Editor of Conservative Home.
Oh what a tangled web we weave. When we first practice to deceive. – Sir Walter Scott
(In case you’re wondering how I do all this, if you grew up watching James Burke’s ‘Connection’ then its really a piece of piss.)
And if you want to know what Dorries’s idea of being ‘pro-choice’ is, then you need look no further than this unguarded comment on the Spectator’s Coffee House blog, which I’ve preserved as a screen-shot for posterity:
So that’s Dorries’ idea of being ‘pro-choice’ – a nine week upper limit.
So from one WHOIS record, just a name and an e-mail address, we can connect Nadine Dorries to a network of Christian politicians and evangelical organisations whose views on abortion stem firmly from their religious beliefs.
(Props to Tim Ireland for making the spot on the WHOIS record for Dorries’s campaign website)