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Rishi Sunak has said he is “grateful” for Nadine Dorries’s service as an MP, after she resigned with a scathing attack on his record.

The Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire has now officially quit, more than two months after she pledged go “with immediate effect” in June.

In her resignation statement, she accused the prime minister of taking “the British public for fools”.

Mr Sunak did not respond to her criticism when asked by reporters.

Asked for his reaction to the comments during a visit on Tuesday, he replied: “I’m grateful to Nadine for her service both as an MP and a minister.”

He added that he was “looking forward” to supporting the Tory candidate in the by-election to replace her that will take place this autumn.

The Treasury confirmed on Tuesday that Ms Dorries has now officially resigned as an MP, after she announced she would be taking the step over the weekend.

In her lengthy resignation statement, she hit out at Mr Sunak for overseeing a “zombie Parliament” and attacked his record as prime minister since he entered No 10 last October.

She wrote that his government was “adrift”, and criticised his performance in a range of areas including taxation, tackling illegal migration, and “delivering on the benefits of Brexit”.

The by-election to choose her successor is unlikely to take place until October at the earliest, and a date will not be confirmed until Parliament returns from its summer recess next week.

But campaigning on the ground has already begun in earnest, with the main parties having already announced their candidates.

The timing could be politically awkward for Mr Sunak, with the Tories trailing Labour in national opinion polls and the Conservatives set to hold their annual conference in Manchester in early October.

Peerage row

Ms Dorries first announced she was quitting Parliament in June, after it was confirmed she would not be getting a peerage in former prime minister Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.

The former culture secretary, one of Mr Johnson’s staunchest political allies, accused Mr Sunak’s political team of removing her name from the list – something Downing Street has denied.

She later announced she would stay in post while she tried to find out more about why she didn’t get a seat in the House of Lords.

However, she came under pressure to resign over the summer, with local councillors in Bedfordshire calling on her to go and critics pointing out she hadn’t spoken in the Commons since leaving government last year.

First elected in as an MP in 2005, the former nurse later served as a health minister under Mr Johnson, before he later promoted her to culture secretary in 2021.

She was suspended as a Conservative MP in 2012, after appearing on ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!.

She has written a series of novels and is due to release a book about the “political assassination” of Mr Johnson in late September, two days before the Tory conference is due to begin.

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