Channel 4 clash as Nadine Dorries refuses to reveal Boris Johnson text on-air

Nadine Dorries remained tight-lipped over the contents of a text from former Conservative prime minister Boris Johnson, as Labour heads for a landslide victory in the General Election.

Former MP Ms Dorries, who served as culture secretary under Mr Johnson, confirmed she had been contacted by the ex-Tory leader following the exit poll but refused to reveal his thoughts in an awkward on-screen moment.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Emily Maitlis, who were heading up the live election coverage for Channel 4, wanted to see whether Mr Johnson texted Ms Dorries before ex-Tony Blair aide Alastair Campbell had been contacted by his former boss over the results.

Regional cabinet meeting – Staffordshire
Former prime minister Boris Johnson and former culture secretary Nadine Dorries (Oli Scarff/PA)

Ms Dorries said “no” when asked what Mr Johnson had said to her, before she was quizzed over his track record as a “proven liar” – following the report by Labour veteran Harriet Harman.

The 67-year-old appeared to get into a heated debate with former Labour communications chief Mr Campbell, who was serving as a Channel 4 presenter alongside his The Rest Is Politics podcast co-host Rory Stewart.

Mr Campbell said: “Harriet Harman produced a report which established beyond any doubt that Boris Johnson was a proven liar,” to which Ms Dorries responded: “Are we going to get into that?”

“One of the reasons why your party has lost so badly tonight is because you keep defending a liar and because other people keep defending Liz Truss, who crashed the economy,” Mr Campbell continued.

In response, Ms Dorries referenced a series of bruising rows between the Labour government and the BBC over its coverage of the US-UK invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Blair & Campbell Brighton
Labour leader Tony Blair and press Alastair Campbell (Neil Munns/PA)

At the time, a Radio 4 Today programme reported that the government had “sexed up” an intelligence dossier in the run-up to the conflict to strengthen the case for war.

She said: “You just don’t like it Alastair, you don’t like it when things come back at you.”

In the on-air clash, Mr Campbell asked Mr Stewart: “Why don’t you make a grown up point from the right?”

After the discussion, Ms Dorries disappeared from the table as well as former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, who were replaced by Ann Widdecombe and former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi.

Mr Guru-Murthy said: “Nadine has gone off to talk to some other people and she’ll be back later on in the morning, and Kwasi has also taken a break.”

Earlier during her appearance on the show, Ms Dorries accused Mr Campbell of sexism.

Mr Campbell said “honestly Nadine, you’ve got to get over Boris Johnson”, before Ms Dorries said: “Actually, I find that quite a sexist comment.”