NADINE DORRIES: Margaret Thatcher made both Angela Rayner and me who we are today. Now the Labour deputy leader’s hypocrisy has been exposed

Over the years I’ve become accustomed to the question: ‘You come from a council estate in Liverpool, so why aren’t you a Labour MP?’

My reply is always the same. I am a Tory MP because of Margaret Thatcher. In 1980, in what became a defining emblem of Thatcherism, she gave five million council house tenants in England and Wales the right to buy their house — at a discount — from their local authority.

With zero effort I can identify that single policy as being responsible for the person I am today. It was a hand reaching out to help haul my family and countless others up the ladder.

To own your own home was to have a solid stake in society. It unleashed aspiration. From having been a child who’d had to borrow shoes to attend school and who often didn’t sleep because I was hungry, our lives were transformed to someone who was aspirational, who had shaken off the shame and stigma of poverty: we were home owners and suddenly, anything was possible.

Angela Rayner no doubt felt the same when, in 2007, she bought an ex-council house in Stockport, Greater Manchester, under the right-to-buy scheme.

Indeed, she said as much in a social media post this weekend when she described it as a ‘proud’ moment after she ‘worked hard, saved and bought it by the book…’ And all credit to the Deputy Labour Leader for that.

Nadine Dorries: I can see straight through the smoke screen Angela Rayner’s attempting to create by attacking those exposing her hypocrisy

It’s what happened next that becomes a bit murky. As The Mail on Sunday has revealed, she sold the property in Vicarage Road eight years later, making a profit of £48,500. However, it is where Angela was living from 2010 — the year of her marriage to Mark Rayner — that is shrouded in confusion. She is registered on the electoral roll at Vicarage Road from 2005-2015 — but Mr Rayner was registered a mile away in Lowndes Lane, which is where the births of their two children were registered.

Neighbours claim Angela moved out of Vicarage Road into Lowndes Lane when she married.

I think it’s only fair to ask what was going on with the apparent discrepancies in the electoral roll registration at this time.

And who, if anyone, was living at Vicarage Road between 2010 and 2015 when she sold the property? (Under right-to-buy rules, any former tenant who sells within five years of purchasing the property must repay some of the discount they benefited from.)

Angela Rayner’s response to these legitimate questions is to cry class war. Well, I’ll take no lectures or sob stories from her because I can see straight through the smoke screen she’s attempting to create by attacking those exposing her hypocrisy.

Only last year, she announced that the right-to-buy policy should be reviewed in order that council house tenants would no longer get ‘loads of discount to purchase new homes’. A discount, of course, that she benefited from.

What she should have said was that the policy must be reviewed so that housing association tenants who aren’t able to buy their own homes will have the same benefits she enjoyed.

Because let me explain to you what right to buy looks like on a poor street before people are given the chance to become kings or queens of their own castles.

Back on our estate, front gardens were divided by packing cases and old tea chests. Every front door was painted the same colour. Litter and dog dirt covered the pavements.

Once the policy kicked in, smart fencing replaced packing cases, front doors were painted in varying colours as each owner expressed their individuality, flowers were planted and the streets were infinitely cleaner.

I’ll say it again: the chance to own your own home can be a game-changer and it made both Angela Rayner and me who we are.

She should quit complaining about the scrutiny she’s under — it goes with the territory — and start promoting policies that will allow more people to access what she and her family benefited from.

Have Tory MPs no understanding of the chaos that could ensue as they plot to remove the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle?

Those thinking of joining the rebellion following last week’s parliamentary debacle over the Gaza vote should do a little research into Speakers of the past.

‘Showboat Bercow’ anyone? Michael Martin, his reputation for ever tarnished by his handling of the expenses scandal?

History will show that in Speaker Hoyle, they have a good, fair and honest man. A time indeed to be careful what you wish for.

Depressing news that 29 pubs a week are closing to become supermarkets, takeaways and DIY stores. It’s more than just a sign of the times; post-pandemic, people are more inclined to sink a few pints or a glass of wine at home. But it also points to the accelerating breakdown of community and social cohesion.

A well-run pub is far more than a boozer and there’s a good reason King Charles has been a supporter of the Pub Is The Hub initiative for decades.

A pub is a community focal point, especially in rural areas: a place where people come together to enjoy quiz nights and darts leagues, perhaps the services of a local shop, a venue for a community cinema or library, children’s play areas or the HQ of local volunteering networks. It is a bulwark against the isolation that many, particularly the elderly, experience.

If you haven’t visited your local for a while — in town or country — do them a favour and pop in. It’s not just the pubs we are losing, it’s our distinctive culture and way of life.

I’m dreading buying Easter eggs this year. Not only have they altered beyond all recognition from what I bought for my children — a decent-sized chocolate egg with a treat inside — but the cost is such that some supermarkets are security-tagging them.

As for the treats — now it’s measly sized packets wrapped in plastic on the outside. And don’t even get me started on the price of just one Cadbury Creme Egg or a packet of their Mini Eggs…

Bridget Jones is back! The fourth movie charting the ups and downs of Helen Fielding’s heroine begins filming in London in May. Whether you are a fan or not, Bridget is a national treasure that every woman of a certain age will be rooting for (Generation Z is less impressed with her obsession with her weight and love life, apparently).

Which got me thinking as I mulled over the red carpet pictures yesterday from the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday. Margot ‘Barbie’ Robbie looked mildly ridiculous in black Schiaparelli couture with a billowing pink duvet cascading from one shoulder, while Jennifer Aniston in a comparatively simple shift was the epitome of understated style. When you’ve got it, you don’t need to flaunt it.

Rumours are swirling around the diamond ring Jen was wearing on her left hand. Don’t we all wish that one day she’ll get her own Bridget Jones happy ending with a Mark Darcy?

Jennifer Aniston in a comparatively simple shift was the epitome of understated style

Margot ¿Barbie¿ Robbie looked mildly ridiculous in black Schiaparelli couture with a billowing pink duvet cascading from one shoulder

Margot ‘Barbie’ Robbie (right) looked mildly ridiculous in black Schiaparelli couture with a billowing pink duvet cascading from one shoulder while Jennifer Aniston, in a comparatively simple shift, was the epitome of understated style

Last week, I flew ‘back home’, to a rural part of County Mayo in Ireland for the funeral of a much-loved uncle who was 96. I was deeply moved by the stream of people turning up to the house to pay their respects over the two days he lay in the front room in an open casket.

And on the night before his funeral, almost the entire village turned out to escort his coffin the mile from his house to the church as his last wish was granted — to spend a night alone with God.

We left him surrounded by candlelight with the distant sound of the river where he’d fished and where I’d helped net salmon when I was a just a girl.

My uncle worked hard every day of his life and always outdoors. He was still bashing in fence posts and herding sheep in his 90s. Simple food, fresh air, honest labour, faith, kindness and a boundless generosity were the staples of his long life.

The requiem mass took place the following morning. The rain was heavy and the wind fierce. Just as the priest began to speak, the clouds parted and bright sunlight flooded through the stained-glass windows to illuminate the now closed coffin.

‘That’s his first-class ticket to heaven,’ said the priest.

Landing back in the UK, to the crowds and grim news and the day-to-day trials and tribulations that beset us all on our own crowded island, I found myself longing to return.

‘You’d be bored stiff in five minutes,’ said my daughter. Probably, but then again…

Today’s Literary Gem

There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy, hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.

Frederick William Robertson, Anglican clergyman (1816-1853)