For a while we at BTLP laboured under the notion that there was no greater narcissist in the Parliamentary Labour Party than Jess Me Me Me Phillips. Jess's great love for herself is not in doubt, but she overplayed herself by standing for the leadership last year. Following that abortive car crash she took her deflated ego and crawled into a pit of shame, with barely a peep heard since. Step forward Dawn Butler, who during the same leadership election appeared to accept her limitations by giving the deputy leadership a punt.
Despite finishing fifth of five, Dawn's ego has grown and grown. This was more than evident in the infamous police stop of August 2020. Despite Butler being merely a passenger in the car, the incident became all about her and she embarked on a blitz of self-publicity, initially perpetuating the lie that she had been in the driver's seat (aided by Sky News).
In June she became the first sitting MP to join Cameo, a website that trades in personalised video messages from desperate celebs, mostly z-list actors whose careers have faltered. Butler's Cameo page features an introductory message (ironically filmed in the passenger seat of a car) and the quip: "I am a serious MP with a serious sense of humour". Good grief.
Dawn is not the first politician to join the site - users can also purchase cringeworthy messages from the likes of John Bercow (£85), Nigel Farage (£75) and Donald Trump Jr (£375). Dawn's messages are not half as pricey, but sadly thus far she has not garnered much attention (she has one review compared to Farage's 484). For someone whose lofty expenses have often found her in the news headlines, it should come as no surprise that Dawn Butler would be found on a site looking to squeeze more dollars out of the British public. Despite being a London MP, she has claimed thousands from the taxpayer for a second home - as has her neighbouring MP Barry Gardiner. Brent is less than ten miles from Westminster.
Ahead of the Batley and Spen by-election, which Labour were expected to lose, Butler again appeared to be up to her self-publicist tricks. She was 'rumoured' to be planning a leadership challenge to Starmer in the event of a Labour defeat and was 'forced to deny' the reports. It's a safe bet that the source of those rumours was Dawn herself, who was spotted swanning around the constituency with a camera crew in tow.
A camera crew was present again days later as Butler's ego was inflated to gigantic proportions with the presentation of a blue plaque on her childhood home. However, the circus surrounding the unveiling was misleading, for this was not a traditional blue plaque designated by English Heritage. No, this was a local initiative calling itself the 'Waltham Forest Heritage'. Still, the plagiarism didn't seem to bother Dawn as she revelled in the attention, pinning her acceptance speech to the top of her Twitter feed.
|The deceptive blue plaque on the bakery where Dawn Butler grew up|
Last month she was back to self-publicist best when she orchestrated her own removal from Parliament by calling the Prime Minister a liar. Despite the House of Commons being home to hundreds of routine liars, it is of supreme irony that members are not supposed to refer to each other in such a way, a fact that Dawn knew only too well prior to her speech. After refusing to retract her statement she was ordered from the Commons by the deputy speaker and immediately retreated to her passenger seat to record a defiant message. However, this was just the beginning.
Butler was in a film studio the very same day to provide a further statement on her ejection from the Commons. It's almost as if the whole thing had been pre-planned. The following day she wrote a piece for the Metro, spoke to James O'Brien on LBC Radio, started a petition and released another video statement. In the days that followed she appeared on Owen Jones's podcast, made another two video statements and retweeted endless messages of support as comrades and journalists massaged her ego. Recent Labour recruit John Bercow chimed in with a message of support and Remain group Led By Donkeys projected an image of the PM against the Houses of Parliament with a dedication to Butler.
The most absurd part of this story was the 'lie' on which Butler based her accusation. Instead of taking apart a pandemic built on awful lies, including the demonstrably proven manipulation of statistics, Butler chose a relatively innocuous claim that Johnson had made about the link between infections, hospitalisations and deaths. The link had not been 'severed', but 'weakened'. Really, Dawn? Is that the best you could come up with to justify your week-long exercise of naval-gazing? You could have easily brought up the lie about the imposition of domestic vaccine passports, another proven lie that had been exposed earlier that very same week. But no, rather than highlight a lie that could be seen as critical to the liberty-crushing restrictions that you have consistently voted in favour of throughout the pandemic, in your desperation you chose something that was probably with the best intentions not even a lie at all. Pathetic.
Like Jess Phillips, Dawn Butler is a legend in her own mind. Angela Rayner has a similar ego, but the key difference is that Rayner has already risen to loftier heights than either of these losers ever will and in the case of Dawn Butler, Rayner has done so in just a third of the time Butler has served as an MP.