Nadine Dorries' book reveals assassins who wanted Boris out of No 10

Sex parties and the ruthless Tory clique who secretly make – and then break – Prime Ministers: Revealed in Nadine Dorries’ bombshell book, the assassins who wanted Boris out of No 10 – straight after his landslide

  • New book claims cabal of elite politicians and advisers control Tory leadership

Boris Johnson was ousted by a cabal that has been controlling the Tory leadership for two decades, according to an explosive book.

In The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson, Nadine Dorries identifies Michael Gove, Dominic Cummings and a powerful adviser called Dougie Smith as members of ‘the movement’.

She says it toppled Mr Johnson and ‘brought down Iain Duncan Smith as party leader, created havoc for Theresa May and undermined Liz Truss’. Her book, which is being serialised in the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, argues that ‘when it came to behind-the-scenes manipulation and manoeuvring, all roads lead back to Michael Gove’ because ‘he binds all the dark-arts people together’.

She says the Levelling Up Secretary was ‘in cahoots’ with Mr Cummings, who used his appearance at the Covid Inquiry last week to attack Mr Johnson’s leadership.

The sensational revelations come after Ms Dorries accused the Government of making a ‘desperate’ attempt to block her book’s publication. Officials had warned that her refusal to hand the manuscript over for official vetting could lead to her being blacklisted from future public appointments, including a peerage.

Boris Johnson with Michael Gove after the Tory election victory of 2019 in the green room of London’s QEII Centre

Boris Johnson with his wife Carrie on his last day as Prime Minister in September 2022

Nadine Dorries claims a cabal of senior politicians and advisers known as ‘the movement’ are controlling the Tory leadership

The former culture secretary writes that after Mr Johnson made Mr Cummings his chief of staff – following pressure from Mr Gove and Mr Smith – ‘the movement’ plotted to remove the PM in the wake of his 2019 election victory, on the grounds he had already served his purpose by winning an 80-seat majority.

A source tells Ms Dorries: ‘It was plainly obvious that Friday morning, the day after the election victory in December 2019, they [the movement] were furious. Boris had won too big. They felt like the confidence that gave him would make it more difficult to control him and, in a way, they were right. Boris constantly pushed back against all of them; and that made them both determined and furious.’

READ MORE: Nadine Dorries reveals ALL about shadowy Tory No10 fixer who had pet rabbit butchered in Mafia-style warning to his ex-girlfriend, in the most-anticipated political book of the year 

She writes: ‘In 2019 they needed Boris to save them from all the harm they had been responsible for. The person they had actually lined up to be PM, Rishi, just wasn’t ready, but once Boris was in and had given them a big majority, it was time to get him out. He had served his purpose.’

Mr Johnson is quoted in the book describing an ‘unexpected and fairly unpleasant’ phone call in 2021 from Mr Smith, the founder of an agency that organised exclusive sex parties. The former prime minister said: ‘I remember where I was when the call came; I was upstairs in the flat in the kitchen … he said ‘I think you should go, you should stand down now and we may let you come back again one day. You are poison, like Nixon. If you don’t go, I’m going to take you down. I’ll finish you off’.’

Part of the tactic to destabilise Mr Johnson, Ms Dorries claims, was to place negative briefings about his wife Carrie in the Press because they ‘saw her as a barrier to their plan for total control’.

She adds: ‘They wanted to place so much strain on the relationship that Carrie would walk. They tried big time to cause trouble in the home, to make them feel vulnerable and scared and dependent upon them. It’s mind games and they are good at it.’

The stories included Wallpapergate – the furore surrounding claims that the Johnsons had extravagantly redecorated the Downing Street flat with gold wallpaper.

The book says: ‘It never existed. It wasn’t quoted for; it was never hung.’

Most damaging for Mr Johnson were the Partygate stories about rule-breaking in No 10, with the book singling out Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden for blame for pressuring Mr Johnson to apologise for the parties. This is because, it is claimed, Mr Dowden is a ‘puppet’ of Mr Smith.

Mr Johnson is quoted as saying: ‘The event I was fined for, the bloody cake that wasn’t even taken out of its box, I was sat at my desk.

‘It’s not like I organised a social event. It was utterly mad. It was kind of like Salem.’

Ms Dorries places Mr Gove at the centre of Mr Johnson’s ousting last year, claiming that on the eve of the PM’s resignation Mr Gove contacted No 10 to say he wanted to come in to be supportive. Then when he was alone with Mr Johnson he told him to quit, before then helping him to prepare for his Commons showdown with Sir Keir Starmer later that day.

Nadine Dorries has accused the Government of making a ‘desperate’ attempt to stop the publication of her explosive book

She quotes a source as saying: ‘Boris trusted Michael and that was one huge mistake. When Michael left, Boris came out to us and said ‘Michael has just told me I should go, I should resign now’.

‘Michael knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted to destabilise Boris, to unnerve him before one of the biggest moments of his life.’

Ms Dorries argues that because there had been only a handful of resignations up to that point, the situation would have been salvageable without Mr Gove’s intervention.

Mr Johnson responded by firing Mr Gove before being forced to resign amid a row about the failure to act on sexual misconduct claims about Tory MP Chris Pincher.

The book claims that the origins of ‘the movement’ can be traced back to Mr Smith’s days in the Federation of Conservative Students, more than three decades ago.

Mr Smith was wielding power as long ago as Iain Duncan Smith’s time as leader in 2003. Sir Iain was ousted in November that year, to be replaced by Michael Howard and then David Cameron. A source quoted in the book says: ‘It was all pre-determined. Nothing happens by accident for these people.’

Last night, in a response dripping with sarcasm, Mr Cummings told the Mail: ‘She’s right, there was a giant conspiracy including MI6, the CIA and, most crucially, the KGB special operations department. It’s a tribute to Nadine she has figured this out. The movement wishes her well.’

The Mail revealed yesterday that the book also describes how a powerful Tory referred to only as ‘Dr No’ once dismembered a pet rabbit and nailed it to the owner’s family home as a Mafia-style warning to an ex-girlfriend.

A source close to Mr Gove said: ‘Nadine is a very talented best-selling fiction author.’

Friends of the minister insisted that he ‘played no part’ in recruiting Mr Cummings to No 10 and rejected the claim that he had helped to bring down a series of Tory leaders as ‘a conspiracy theory worthy of Piers Corbyn’.

They also denied that he had told Mr Johnson he had to quit as PM to destabilise him. One said: ‘This account is untrue.’

Mr Dowden declined to comment.

No 10 aide they call The Wolf after Pulp Fiction’s gangland fixer…

By Mark Hookham, Andy Jehring and Neil Sears

A mysterious top Tory official accused of secretly wielding ‘total control’ of the Government was once charged with threatening to kill a love rival.

Before he was cleared, Dougie Smith, 61, spent a week in prison after telling police he had bought a handgun to shoot his former lover’s new boyfriend.

The revelation comes as a bombshell book by Nadine Dorries – serialised in the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday from today – accuses Mr Smith of deploying the ‘dark arts’ to control the Tory party from the shadows for decades.

The former culture secretary alleges that Mr Smith was a central player in a ‘plot’ to topple Boris Johnson.

Despite holding huge sway under a succession of Conservative prime ministers, barely anything has been known about Mr Smith’s background. Until now just one photograph, which shows him in the 1990s, has ever been published of him online.

Top Tory official Dougie Smith – said to be part of ‘the movement’ controlling access to the Tory leadership – has finally been unmasked

But an investigation by this newspaper today finally unmasks Downing Street’s so-called ‘invisible fixer’, with an exclusive new picture of the aide. In her explosive book, The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson, Ms Dorries claims Mr Smith has controlled the selection of Tory MPs since 2017, with candidates forced to ‘sell their soul’ to him.

Mr Johnson in the book says Mr Smith ordered him to quit as PM, telling him over the phone: ‘If you don’t go, I’m going to take you down. I’ll finish you off’. Over the past two decades Mr Smith’s political power has steadily grown – almost completely hidden from the public glare.

READ MORE: Nadine Dorries reveals ‘desperate’ Cabinet Office threats as she prepares to release most explosive political book of the year 

By 2021 he and his wife Munira Mirza, a former adviser to Boris Johnson, had become known among Westminster insiders as ‘the most influential people you’ve never heard of’.

Mr Smith remains one of Rishi Sunak’s key No 10 aides – but mystery surrounds his exact job title and role.

He has never been listed as a special adviser and Ms Dorries’ book reports that while he has worked for the Tory party ‘for as long as anyone can remember … he appears on no staff list’.

Described as having a fiery temper – and prone to angry ‘meltdowns’ – Mr Smith is referred to by some Conservatives as ‘The Wolf’, after the gangland fixer in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

Until today only one picture existed of him online. But the Mail has unearthed an exclusive photograph taken of Mr Smith entering the back door of Downing Street in December 2021.

Dressed in a navy blue suit and with his phone pressed to his ear, he looks every inch the menacing political heavyweight.

Alongside this new image, documents from historical archives have built the most complete picture yet of one of the most powerful – and feared – men in Westminster.

Edinburgh-born Mr Smith’s political network is based around contacts he made during his days with the Federation of Conservative Students – a radical Right-wing group shut down by Lord [Norman] Tebbit in 1986 after a string of controversies.

Buried in the FCS files at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library is a small press clipping from 1990 about Mr Smith headlined: ‘Tory cleared of threat to kill.’ It details how he was accused of threatening to kill fellow Tory activist Toby Baxendale after he started dating Mr Smith’s ex-girlfriend, Catherine Keizner. West London Magistrates’ Court heard that Smith told police he ‘threatened to kill Mr Baxendale and had bought a handgun with which to shoot him’.

The court accepted his not guilty plea after his lawyer claimed he ‘had not meant to be taken seriously’. He agreed to be bound over to keep the peace for 18 months in the sum of £250.

On walking free, the then 28-year-old Mr Smith told reporters: ‘There was no truth whatsoever in any of the allegations. I have been found not guilty of the charge and there is no stain on my character. I am pleased that I have no criminal convictions.’

Court records show that Mr Smith was charged with threats to kill on May 24, 1990, and remanded in prison until June 1. A pre-trial medical report was conducted on him before he was bailed at his next hearing.

He was ordered not to contact Mr Baxendale, Ms Keizner, or Mr Baxendale’s mother, Jane Taylor. Mr Baxendale, 54, an entrepreneur who married Ms Keizner, also 54, in 1995, did not respond to a request to comment.

Dougie Smith is married to Munira Munza, a former adviser to Boris Johnson who quit in 2022

Iain Duncan Smith, former leader of the Conservatives, was reportedly brought down by the shadowy ‘movement’ within the party

Dougie Smith was a speechwriter under former Tory PM David Cameron. Sources said ‘nothing happens by accident’ in the party’s leadership

Mr Smith’s brush with the law followed his involvement in a number of controversial incidents at the FCS, a group best known for its ‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ posters and backing the Right-wing Contras in Nicaragua.

The Bodleian archives show Mr Smith was accused of writing and distributing a ‘guide to disrupting the NUS [National Union of Students] conference’ which called on supporters to ‘always join in Trotskyist demonstrations’. The guide told supporters to ‘throw things’ and ‘think about staging a mock fight’ to help bring down the ‘Marxist’ NUS.

Mr Smith was also involved in an extraordinary row with Tory top brass in 1985 when he was elected as vice-chairman of the FCS after falsely claiming he was a student of Napier College in Edinburgh.

A six-month investigation that went right to the top of the party revealed he had lied, but after his election was declared ‘null and void’ he simply found a loophole to get re-elected almost immediately.

Mr Smith was also linked to a gang of Tory activists who launched a night raid on a women’s peace camp in the 1980s. He was photographed with hardliners who had obtained a scarf stolen from the campaigners. An FCS contemporary said: ‘He should have been thrown out of the party then. It is extraordinary that he has managed to rise to where he is now.’

But Mr Smith’s various escapades during his twenties did not seemingly inhibit his political career. By 2003, Mr Smith and Mark MacGregor, another former leading member of the FCS, were the architects of a bid by then leader Iain Duncan Smith to rebrand the Conservative Party. In his spare time Mr Smith became a member of the so-called Aspinalls poker set and co-founded Fever Parties – an agency which organised exclusive sex parties for wealthy swingers in upmarket London locations.

He asked couples to submit photos and pay a fee of £50 to attend his events. When the ‘five-star’ orgies were exposed by a national newspaper he insisted that his political and private activities ‘don’t overlap’ and hailed his clients as ‘the SAS of sex’.

In her book, one source tells Ms Dorries that Mr Smith, who was a speechwriter under David Cameron, now exerts huge control over the Tory party because for the past two general elections he has overseen the selection of Conservative MPs.

A source told the former MP: ‘Dougie is a genius at how to manipulate Conservative associations.

‘He’s really good at it; he gets MPs into seats and then they become so grateful to him that he controls them.’

Another said: ‘You have to sell your soul to Dougie, but he will get you a seat.’

One of Ms Dorries’ sources claimed Mr Smith ‘has total control over government, and hardly anyone has ever heard of him or knows who he is’.

Ms Dorries writes that Mr Johnson wanted to sack Mr Smith, but was warned: ‘If you do, you won’t be able to deal with the disruption. Just leave him.’

She says Mr Smith eventually turned on Mr Johnson and demanded he quit.

She quotes Mr Johnson recalling an extraordinary phone call in which Mr Smith allegedly said: ‘I think you should go, you should stand down now and we may let you come back again one day.

‘You are poison, like Nixon. If you don’t go, I’m going to take you down. I’ll finish you off.’

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