Culture secretary and Tory MP Nadine Dorries has been accused of comparing homosexuality with paedophilia in her 2014 novel The Four Streets.
Despite her presumably large workload as MP for Mid Bedfordshire and secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Dorries has a second job as a fiction writer.
The MP, who was suspended by the Conservative Party while she took part in the 12th series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in 2012, being the first person to be voted off that year, has written 15 books to date and claims to have sold more than 2.5 million copies.
The 64-year-old earned around £157,000 in royalties from her books in 2020, on top of her £82,000 MP salary, plus expenses, despite crime writer Abir Mukherjee once saying: “Calling Nadine Dorries an author is like saying cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer was a chef.”
But an excerpt from her first book The Four Streets, published in 2014 and centring around a community of Irish dockers’ families in Liverpool in the 1950s with a ghost also appearing intermittently throughout, has been brought to light.
The central characters of the book, described by a Telegraph reviewer as “the worst novel I’ve read in 10 years”, are two young girls, one of whom is abused by a priest involved with a paedophile ring of NHS hospital porters.
The excerpt reads: “‘There is nothing wrong with us,’ said Austin to Stanley, ‘we just like something different from others, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.’
“They all felt the same… ‘Homos will be in the law soon,’ said Arthur, often. ‘We will be one day too.’
“Stanley supposed that, as he liked boys, he was a ‘homo’ too. The difference was, he liked them from the age of two to 12. Once they reached puberty, they were of no interest to him.”
Boris Johnson and Nadine Dorries with supporters before the Conservative leadership hustings, 2019. (Getty/ Leon Neal)
The conflation of homosexuality and paedophilia is a homophobic trope that has been around for decades.
Sharing a screenshot of the passage, Matthew Hodson, executive director of AIDSmap, tweeted: “This is Nadine Dorries, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport equating homosexuality with paedophilia. You should be worried.
Equating homosexuality with paedophilia is a classic element of the homophobe’s playbook. I remember it well from the 80s.
Still today, when I’ve been subject to online trolling, it is how strangers choose to attack me.
It’s deeply concerning to see such views in our Government. pic.twitter.com/PKjGuF8vQr
— Matthew Hodson (@Matthew_Hodson) March 8, 2022
“Equating homosexuality with paedophilia is a classic element of the homophobes’ playbook. I remember it well from the 80s.
“Still today, when I’ve been subject to online trolling, it is how strangers choose to attack me. It’s deeply concerning to see such views in our government.”
Responding to the excerpt from Dorries’ novel, Sasha Misra, associate director of communications and campaigns at Stonewall, told PinkNews: “The idea that LGBTQ+ people are inherently a danger to children is an offensive, long-running myth that is deeply damaging to our communities and puts lives in danger.
“These stereotypes are used as an excuse to stigmatise LGBTQ+ people and take away our rights, and It’s important to be mindful of this when portraying LGBTQ+ characters and stories.”
Dorries’ publisher Head of Zeus told PinkNews in a statement: “This passage shows an ignorant and unpleasant character reflecting on the changing social landscape of post war Britain. Any viewpoint is the viewpoint of the character not of the author or publisher.”
Nadine Dorries has not responded to PinkNews‘ repeated requests for comment.
Nadine Dorries has a terrible political record when it comes to LGBT+ rights
In 2012, Nadine Dorries openly opposed legislation to legalise marriage equality, repeatedly voting against it.
In an article for Conservative Home, she wrote at the time: “Gay marriage is a policy which has been pursued by the metro elite gay activists and needs to be put into the same bin [as reform of the House of Lords].”
She added that she had never met a same-sex couple that wanted to get married, and that the legislation “transforms them into political agitators who have set themselves against the church and community”.
In 2013, speaking in parliament, Dorries compared marriage equality to incest, asking: “If gay marriage bill takes sex out of marriage could a sister marry a sister to avoid inheritance tax?”
If David Cameron wants Conservative party to lose as many as fifty seats at next election he must push forward with the gay marriage bill
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) May 11, 2013
So, we dropped to 27 points in tonight’s polls. That gay marriage thing is really working for us.
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) May 21, 2013
She also bizarrely insisted: “The definition of marriage and the definition of sex is for ordinary and complete sex to have taken place. Same-sex couples cannot meet this requirement.”
Although she described voting against same-sex marriage as her “biggest regret” in 2018, she later used the issue to back a ban on burkas.
The culture secretary has also pushed for the promotion of abstinence in sex education for girls, but not for boys, and has pushed for the reduction of the time limit for legal abortion in the UK.