Welcome to Monday’s Early Edition from i.
Almost three months after she first promised to stand down “with immediate effect”, Nadine Dorries will properly quit as MP for Mid Bedfordshire next week on 4 September. There had been mounting pressure for Ms Dorries, a staunch ally of Boris Johnson, to carry out the pledge she made in early June. “It had become an embarrassment and it was a self-indulgent act on Nadine Dorries’s part, which I think was damaging the whole of the Conservative Party,” Sir Bob Neill said at the weekend. Ms Dorries initially said she would quit after it emerged she was blocked from receiving a peerage. But she later said she would stay in the Commons until she had found out the full story of why she was vetoed from the House of Lords. Since then, pressure for the former culture secretary to go has mounted and last week the Lib Dems said they would try and use Parliamentary procedures to oust her. On Saturday, she released a long and sharp-tongued resignation letter (although not directly to the PM), in which she decried the “political assassination of Boris Johnson” and accused Rishi Sunak of running a “zombie parliament” and “abandoning the fundamental principles of Conservatism”. She warned: “I shall take some comfort from explaining to people exactly how you and your allies achieved this undemocratic upheaval in my book.” While many Tories may be glad the saga is finally over, they have a challenge on their hands – another by-election. How might things play out? We’ll take a look after the headlines.
Today’s news, and why it matters
British drivers will have to pay more for electric cars if ministers fail in a bid to stop tariffs being imposed under the Brexit trade deal. The UK has been lobbying Brussels to delay the introduction of new so-called “rules of origin” from January after Vauxhall’s parent company Stellantis said it would mean crippling tariffs on exports that would leave it unable to make electric vehicles in the UK.
Families who lost loved ones at NHS mental health units across Essex over a 20-year period fear the inquiry into their deaths has stalled as it still does not have a chair. The Government upgraded the independent inquiry to a statutory footing in June, which means it will be able to compel current and former NHS staff to give evidence. The move was a victory for campaigners who had refused to engage with officials until the inquiry was given extra legal powers.
The Government has been urged to scrap a hidden energy charge for customers on prepayment meters amid fears it is plunging them into fuel poverty. The “cruel and disgraceful” standing charges are used to maintain the energy network, but add around £300 to every gas and electricity bill each year, regardless of the amount of energy used.
The UK will play a major role in the reconstruction of Ukraine’s towns and cities after the war and British construction firms will be “top of the list” for building contracts, Kyiv sources have told i. Despite ongoing Russian strikes and Ukraine’s counteroffensive, President Volodymyr Zelensky is already looking positively to the future, with UK companies well placed to win tens of billions in contracts to help in Ukraine’s recovery.
Teachers battling debilitating menopause symptoms in the classroom have revealed how brain fog, mood swings and joint pain are affecting their ability to do their jobs as record numbers leave the profession. One senior teacher told i how she found herself regularly lost in corridors on the brink of tears and feared being viewed as “useless” or “unsuited for the job” by her colleagues, while another described how working in a male dominated science department meant she felt she had no one to talk to.
Four questions over Nadine Dorries’ resignation:
How have Tories reacted to her resignation? The response to Dorries’ news at the weekend was as brutal as her resignation letter. One former minister told i: “I don’t think anyone gives a f**k any more. The general public just think she’s gone already.” Another backbencher added: “Let’s hope the narcissistic show can abate at least for a bit. Clearly it’s a relief she’s not going to the Lords.” Tory backbencher Tobias Ellwood, the Chair of the Defence Select Committee, described her behaviour as “undignified”. He told GB News: “I’m afraid what she’s done has been self-serving. It’s been distracting to delay her resignation in this way”. He added: “I’m pleased that this sort of selfish charade is now over. The party can now move forward and we pick up the pieces and we repair.” A number of Tories have urged others within the party to ditch the scathing language and infighting. Tory former minister Sir James Duddridge told the Daily Express: “None of us are blameless in all this, Rishi, Boris, Nadine. All of us got us into this mess. We need to end the infighting or Keir Starmer wins.”
When will the by-election be? Although she officially steps down on 4 September, the by-election isn’t likely to be until early October. The Flitwick and Shefford town councils in her constituency had previously urged Ms Dorries to stand down. Shefford’s mayor told the BBC her constituency office had closed a few years ago and was now a dance studio. Ms Dorries was accused of “abandoning” her constituents in Parliament despite remaining in her role and continuing to receive her taxpayer-funded salary of £86,584. She has not spoken in the Commons for 415 days and has voted only six times so far this year. And while residents may have got what they wanted in Ms Dorries finally stepping down, the Tory party will be conscious that Labour and the Lib Dems have already been out on the ground in her constituency ever since she first said she’d step down back in June. But that doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility that the Tories could cling on to power, as Hugo Gye explains here.
What do the polls say? The latest BMG survey puts Labour 15 percentage points ahead of the Tories, putting Sir Keir Starmer in line for a landslide similar to that won by Tony Blair in 1997. That’s for a national election, obviously, and not a representation of what might happen in Mid Bedfordshire. But if that swing between the two main parties were replicated across the country, top Conservatives including Grant Shapps, Penny Mordaunt and Mark Harper would all be ejected from the House of Commons. A Conservative former minister said the poll findings were “sobering”. Read the full story here. Recent history suggests the Tories could be in for a bruising when it comes to replacing Nadine Dorries, after losing two by-elections last month. They also face at least one more after Mid Bedfordshire, with Chris Pincher widely expected to be booted out of the Commons after a damning report into his sexual harassment of two young men. The question is – who are the Tories most likely expected to lose the seat to? This poll last month suggested Labour could be in the lead, but with some caveats.
What next for her? Nadine Dorries is a prolific author, with 16 fiction books to her name. She’s currently working on her first non-fiction work, titled The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson. She may also further her TV career, which currently consists of a regular TalkTV slot each Friday night, or to make a return to reality TV.
Around the world
Ultra-processed food significantly raises the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, according to two studies. Experts say the latest research exposes a “tidal wave of harm” being caused directly by UPF.
The US government is examining whether the Russian general responsible for the unit that is believed to have carried out the 2018 Salisbury poisonings was involved in the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin. Intelligence sources in the UK and Ukraine told i that Major General Andrey Averyanov was being discussed in connection, now it can be revealed the US is also looking into the possibility that he was linked to the death of the Wagner Group leader last Wednesday.
Police have named the white man who killed three black people at a store in Florida in a racially motivated shooting on Saturday as 21-year-old Ryan Palmeter. After the shooting racist manifestos were found at his his home which were addressed to his family, federal law enforcement and the media, in which he told of his hatred of black people.
Donald Trump’s mugshot has proved to be lucrative for his presidential campaign, with figures showing it has raised more than $7m since he was booked at Fulton County Jail last Thursday. Staff say that in the three weeks since the former president was indicted in Georgia he has raised almost $20m.
Holidaymakers may swap Ibiza for west Wales if global warming continues to get worse, according to the first study of how climate change may influence tourism flows. Heading for the Spanish Balearic Islands, parts of Greece, Portugal and Cyprus will prove less attractive in the summer if average temperatures rise by the worst case scenario of between 3-4°C.
Watch out for…
the climax of the largest street party in Europe – the Notting Hill Carnival.
Thoughts for the day
Humiliated Putin’s best hope of victory is now a second Trump presidency. Donald Trump claims this war is not a vital interest for the US, says Ian Birrell.
I became self-employed and it turns out I’m the worst boss I’ve ever had. I break into my own time off several times an hour, and the thought of switching off my phone gives me palpitations, reveals Clare Mackintosh.
Enough of the niceness – some men deserve a knee to the groin. Doing it the ‘right’ way hasn’t worked, writes Rebecca Reid.
‘David Crosby and I were finally making peace. And then he was gone’. Ahead of his UK tour, Graham Nash talks about grief, the feud with his old bandmate, and his former relationship with Joni Mitchell.
The Big Read
Wagner mercenaries could be absorbed by arch rival Redut and slip into the shadows after Prigozhin’s death. The private army may be merged with another private military contractor, experts believe.
Liverpool’s last-gasp win leaves Newcastle ‘kicking ourselves’ and searching for answers. Darwin Nunez’s late brace secures comeback win for 10-man Liverpool and a significant blow in the Champions League race, writes Mark Douglas.
Something to brighten your day
People from all over the world have joined to look for the mysterious Loch Ness monster – the biggest search of its kind for 50 years. Hunters claimed to have heard “distinctive noises” in their quest to find the beast, but later admitted they had failed to turn on recording equipment at the crucial moment … and that the noises may have been made by ducks.