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December 17, 2012

MP Nadine Dorries: ‘I’ll not talk to local paper again’

By Andrew Pugh

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries is refusing to speak to her local newspaper over what she describes as a series of salacious and inaccurate stories.

Dorries claimed the Bedfordshire on Sunday (BoS) specialised in “character assassination” and accused the newspaper of indulging in “lazy journalism” by “stalking her Twitter account for easy copy”.

“I’ll never give that newspaper a quote again,” she told Press Gazette. The BoS insists it has done nothing wrong and is now finding it increasingly frustrating that Dorries has refused to have any form of communication with them.

The Tory MP for Mid-Bedfordshire was keen to stress she had a good relationship with rival titles in the area, including the Bedford Times & Citizen, despite the fact that they too have published critical stories in the past.

But she said the BoS “crossed a line” when it published a recent story which Dorries claimed repeated “lies” about her family.

The MP is now considering taking legal action over the allegations, which were also published in a number of national newspapers. Press Gazette has agreed not to repeat those claims.

Dorries’ dispute with the paper came to a head this week when she blocked the BoS’s Twitter account and one of its reporters, telling them: “Lie about my family, you pay the price.”

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Dorries also told Press Gazette that if a Leveson Bill goes before Parliament she will vote for statutory underpinning of the press, despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s opposition to statutory regulation.

The newspaper’s editor Keeley Knowles said: “With every story that we’ve done on her, and indeed any other MP, we always attempt to get their side of things, which we have done with every story with Nadine.

“However that does become difficult when she refuses to speak to us about anything. We’ve attempted to contact her a number of times by email, telephone, via Twitter because there’re a lot of questions to be answered that we’ve been asked from her constituents.”

She added: “We are doing our job, we are serving the public. We’re finding it increasingly frustrating that she refuses to have any communication with us. It’s very difficult.

“We are one of her local newspapers and we feel she needs to speak to us. We don’t feel we’ve done anything wrong.”

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

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