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Nadine Dorries’s ‘disturbing’ tweets on Sunak condemned by Tory MPs | Nadine Dorries

Conservative MPs have condemned “divisive, disingenuous and disturbing” interventions against Rishi Sunak by the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, including a tweet showing Sunak wielding a knife at Boris Johnson.

Other Conservative ministers have condemned comments by Dorries, a supporter of Liz Truss, about Sunak’s dress sense, after she compared his Savile Row suit with Truss’ earrings from Claire’s.

One suggested it was deeply provocative for her to tweet the image of Sunak stabbing Johnson, in a parody of Julius Caesar, given two MPs have recently been murdered.

The culture secretary, one of Johnson’s closest allies, retweeted an image depicting him as Julius Caesar about to be stabbed by a knife-wielding Sunak, a parody of his resignation that brought down the prime minister.

The business minister Greg Hands said the picture was inappropriate, especially given the killing of the Southend West Tory MP Sir David Amess at a constituency surgery in Essex last October.

“I’m sure Liz Truss would disown this kind of behaviour. I think this is appalling,” Hands told Sky News. “Look, it’s not even a year since the stabbing of Sir David Amess at his Southend constituency surgery, so I think this is very, very bad taste, dangerous even … I do find it distasteful.”

The Wales secretary, Robert Buckland, who is also backing Sunak, told BBC Radio Wales that the “sort of imagery and narrative is not just incendiary, it’s wrong.” He said: “It’s time for those who think that an argument about Prada shoes or earrings is more important, for instance, should wind their neck in and let people talk about the issues rather than the personality.”

Simon Hoare, the chair of the Northern Ireland select committee, tweeted that it was “utterly, utterly tasteless. Crass and tasteless. Below the dignity of office … Remembering, with respect, our fallen colleagues David Amess and Jo Cox. The injured Stephen Timms. I will just leave it there.”

The former Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis, a backer of Truss, said he did not think the foreign secretary would support the comments. He told Sky News: “It’s certainly not the sort of thing I would tweet … Nadine is well known as having strong views on things. Nadine speaks for herself, she’s very much an individual on that. But that is not a position that Liz would take.”

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Dorries said she “may have gone slightly over the top” with her tweet comparing the chancellor’s suit and Prada shoes with Truss’s budget earrings.

“I wanted to highlight Rishi’s misguided sartorial style in order to alert Tory members not to be taken in by appearances in the way that happened to many of us who served with the chancellor in cabinet,” she wrote. “The assassin’s gleaming smile, his gentle voice and even his diminutive stature had many of us well and truly fooled.”

She said the former chancellor “travelled along a path of treachery, and in doing so is unlikely to win the hearts and minds of Conservative party members because, above all else, they value loyalty and decency.”

Those comments also drew ire from Sunak’s backers, including the MP Kevin Hollinrake, who tweeted that there were “a number of resignations, including a secretary of state before the chancellor … 55 resignations the next day or so, including ones who stood for leadership themselves … Have you forgotten how Boris made his way to the top? Rightly or wrongly, there are always limits to loyalty.”

Dorries has been approached for comment.

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