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Favourite to Replace Nadine Dorries Pledges Not to Take Second Job or Presenting Gigs as MP

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey tells Byline Times he backs ‘minimum service’ requirement on Lib Dem MPs after Nadine Dorries fails to speak in Parliament for over a year

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey (left) with Mid Bedfordshire by-election candidate Cllr Emma Holland-Lindsay, inside the Cottage Bakery during a visit to Ampthill in what his party says is his third visit to Nadine Dorries’ constituency since she announced she would resign. Photo: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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The Liberal Democrat candidate to replace absentee MP Nadine Dorries has told Byline Times she would not take any second jobs if elected, with her party leader Ed Davey telling this paper that he would back the creation of new ‘minimum service levels’ demands on Lib Dem MPs.

Emma Holland-Lindsay, a Central Bedfordshire councillor and public affairs lead for the Women’s Institute, is running to unseat the Conservatives should TalkTV host Nadine Dorries make good on her promise 10 weeks ago to stand down “with immediate effect” after she was denied a peerage. 

Speaking on the campaign trail in Mid Beds, Holland-Lindsay said: “My absolute number one top focus is to be a hard working strong voice. I want to be a full time MP, standing up for local people locally, out and about meeting communities, listening to local residents’ concerns and standing up for them in Westminster. So I won’t be taking any other jobs.”

Asked whether she would take any paid TV slots – such as hosting news or current affairs programmes, she told Byline Times: “No,  because I should be a strong voice, which we haven’t had for so long in this area. 

“Residents are really concerned whether they can’t get a GP appointment. People are waiting up to five weeks for a routine GP appointment. Or they’re concerned about their shopping bill going up every time they go to the supermarket. So of course, my absolute number one job is to stand up for those people in Westminster and locally.”

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Nadine Dorries has failed to speak in the Commons in well over a year, and has only voted ten times since last July. Yet there are no minimum service standards for MPs – so no way to boot her out on that basis. MPs are currently exploring using obscure and rarely-used parliamentary methods to evict her and trigger a by-election.

Asked if minimum service levels were needed for members of parliament, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey told Byline Times he “certainly wouldn’t be against them for myself and for Lib Dem MPs.”

“The issue is making sure MPs are more accountable. And to my mind, the way you do that is you change the electoral system. The problem with first past the post is you get seats where there are large Conservative and Labour majorities, and it is very difficult to remove them at a general election,” the former coalition minister said.

He added: “The best way to make sure MPs are held to account when politicians are forced to listen to their public is to have electoral reform.” 

Davey also told this newspaper he was “not in principle against” a ban on second jobs for MPs. In 2021, Sir Ed Davey earned £60,000 for 72 hours work for Herbert Smith Freehills, an international law firm, focusing on political issues and policy analysis. He also sat on the advisory board of Next Energy Capital, earning £18,000pa for 48 hours. The money was used to “benefit Sir Ed’s disabled son,” Sky News reported his team as saying. 


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However, he added the focus on any new rules should be to “make sure that everything is completely and utterly transparent, and that MPs have to put their constituents first.

“In some cases I don’t think it’s unreasonable that they do odd activities elsewhere. It would be hypocritical for me to say otherwise.” 

He admitted Lib Dem MPs – including himself – have taken second jobs, as have Labour and the Conservatives. “But the key thing is massive transparency on it, so people know what’s actually happening. And that the MP involved puts their constituents first. And that’s not been the case under Nadine Dorries, and I’m afraid many Conservative MPs,” Sir Ed said.

“Right Housing in the Right Places”

In her interview with Byline Times, candidate Emma Holland-Lindsay also suggested she opposed housing developments that do not come with the “right infrastructure.” Lib Dems often campaign on unpopular housing developments in a bid to win votes – and are sometimes dubbed NIMBYs as a result (i.e. Not in My Back Yard).

“Clearly, we have a need for more affordable housing to be built in the right place with the right infrastructure around it. What we found in this area, we have these top down Conservative policy targets around housing, which has meant that housing has been built often in the wrong place.

“Often the wrong housing [is built] and it doesn’t have the infrastructure going with: it the health services, the schools, the transport services that they need,” the Mid Beds candidate stressed.

Top down housing targets for local councils were controversially scrapped by Rishi Sunak last year, as he faced a shires revolt among backbenchers from his own party.


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Pressed on whether her stance would mean fewer houses being built – and more house building projects being jettisoned altogether – Emma Holland-Lindsay said: “We have to trust local residents. Residents aren’t saying to me on the doorstep ‘we want no housing’. People are saying to me actually, we’re having these things forced upon us. It’s in the wrong place. This housing is not affordable to local people.” 

“They’re not getting the infrastructure sorted. So, there’s no GP surgery being built alongside it. There’s no new transport services. So we have to trust local communities, that they know what they need and actually listen to them”, she told Byline Times.

It suggests an opposition to any house building projects which do not come with new GP surgeries, schools or public transport attached.

The candidate responded: “A huge priority for me is infrastructure, because I’m going around knocking on doors and that is what people are saying to me: they’re saying  we can’t get a GP appointment is someone saying to me as a five week wait, or you’ve got to battle through the phone system, because there isn’t the capacity there?…

“So yes, absolutely. We need to have the infrastructure to sit alongside all this development, otherwise, our local communities can’t cope.”

Dorries in Disgrace

Sir Ed Davey branded Rishi Sunak a “complete disgrace” for not withdrawing the Conservative whip from Dorries. 

“Our Prime Minister has allowed her to continue to take the Tory whip and be a part of the Conservative party when she has failed the people of Mid Bedfordshire so badly. So increasingly, this is not an issue of Nadine Dorries. It’s an issue about the Conservative Party. They are taking the people of Mid Bedfordshire for granted and are completely out of touch,” he said.

He noted that Sunak has “known what it’s like for a long time” that Dorries is not turning up for constituents. “Why haven’t they taken action?”

The Lib Dem leader, who has helped win a string of recent by-elections for the Lib Dems including just last month in Somerton and Frome, noted that taking the seats off the Conservatives was a “tall order”. Labour is also gunning for the constituency – whenever a byelection will be called. 

“It may come down to whether a few people do vote Labour and let the Tories sneak in. Labour are going to finish third, that’s for sure,” he said. 

Why was he so sure? Because, in his eyes, a Lib Dem MP would be “someone who’s been brought up in this area knows this patch, cares about the patch – and doesn’t use it as a stepping stone to get on I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here.”

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