Dorries won the Conservative candidacy for the safe seat of Mid Bedfordshire in 2005 on the retirement through ill health after a series of scandals of Jonathan Sayeed. In 2009, she gave this account of her selection:

Three weeks before the 2005 general election I, a council estate Scouser, was selected as the Conservative candidate to represent a southern rural constituency. Because the vacancy occurred so quickly and so close to D-day, the party provided my association with a shortlist of seventeen candidates, of which about five were women. Following a long day of interviews in hot sunny rooms, the list was whittled down to a shortlist of three … I was informed that I had been selected outright on the first ballot … That pride, that sense of achievement, the knowledge that I was selected on the basis of my performance and merit above all other candidates on that day is what enables me to hold my head up high in this place.

Dorries’ account of her own selection appears to contradict a news report which The Times ran at the time, reporting that Conservative Campaign Headquarters placed a majority of women on the shortlist and pressed for the selection of a female candidate:

Mrs Dorries, who has three teenage children, easily beat her 11 rivals and won the plum safe seat on the first ballot at the selection this weekend. Party officials were thrilled that the seat has gone to a woman. Previously, only two women had been selected in the 17 safe seats where sitting MPs have retired. Senior party figures had made clear to local dignitaries that they would like the seat to go to a woman and presented the constituency with a shortlist of seven women and five men to underline the point.

Even from the outset she was not a studious follower of facts and the warning signs should have been a warning to us all.

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