‘Inappropriate’ for Culture Secretary to be made Peer, claims DCMS Committee Member


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The appointment of the UK Government’s Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, to the House of Lords would be ‘inappropriate’, SNP Shadow Culture Secretary and Member of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has claimed, as he referred a ‘serious matter’ of whether or not she misled parliament to the Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

In his letter to Lord Bew, Mr Nicolson writes, 

“If media reports are to be believed, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport […] is to be put on the Prime Minister’s resignation honours list.

“On the 19th May 2022, when responding to a question from the Honourable Member for Ealing Central and Acton at the DCMS Committee, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, claimed that in the Channel 4 series, Tower Block of Commons, actors pretending to be residents were used by the Channel 4 production company. 

“She said : They were not really living in a flat—they were not real. They were actually actors. 

“She went on to say that some of the residents concerned had confessed that they were actors at a dinner with Ms Dorries in the House of Commons.”

Following the Culture Secretary’s claim, Channel 4 opened an investigation into her claim. After interviewing the production company team and all of the residents concerned, including those who visited Ms Dorries in the House of Commons, Channel 4 published a detailed report on the 15th July and released the following statement:

“Neither Love Productions’ investigation nor Channel 4’s internal inquiries revealed any evidence to support the allegations made about the programme.”

When challenged by the Chair of the House of Commons DCMS Committee Julian Knight MP on the matter, Ms Dorries doubled down on her claim, saying “I set out my experiences on taking part in the programme in my comments during the Select Committee and stand by those remarks. I do not wish to add anything further at this time.”

Mr Nicolson has requested that “any decision on her appointment to the Lords be delayed until the Commons Committee of Privileges takes a decision on whether to investigate and then rule on this serious matter. 

“If Ms. Dorries’ claims are substantiated her appointment can proceed. But if Channel 4’s investigation remains unchallenged by evidence, it will be clear that the Secretary of State has misled a Commons Select Committee and will thus be an inappropriate person to be recommended by the Prime Minister for a peerage.”