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Nadine Dorries needed a ‘safe space’ to come up with her TikTok rap lyrics, says government

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries went viral with her cringeworthy rap – but the draft lyrics will remain secret.

The government will keep the draft lyrics to Nadine Dorries’ viral TikTok rap secret, citing the need for a “safe space” for ministers to do their work.

When culture secretary Dorries dropped a 41-second rap explaining her department’s new Online Safety Bill, it went viral – attracting a mass of headlines and jokes.

The Big Issue asked for the draft lyrics of the TikTok – as a way to glean how much time, effort, and government brainpower had been spent coming up with the video.

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But after seeking advice from an unnamed minister, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport won’t release them, saying it would “prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.” 

In a Freedom of Information response, the department said: “There is a public interest in preserving a ‘safe space’ around ministers and government officials so that they can communicate with confidence.

It added: “If all communications were disclosed, then this lack of safe space could lead to less innovative or creative options being discussed and reduce the potential reach of communications in an evolving landscape.”

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The video, which features Nadine Dorries rapping the line “but is it true it will limit freedom of expression? / no we’ve put in legal protections in the 19th section” has gained 30,000 views on TikTok, but over 400,000 on Twitter when posted as an “insane moment in British politics”.

The end of the video, which outlines the provisions of the Online Safety Bill, shows Dorries dropping a mic.

In its refusal to release the draft lyrics, the DCMS argues doing so would “inhibit the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of innovation” and could have a “chilling effect” on officials.

The response is part of a pattern of the government leaning away from openness. Nearly 60 per cent of requests are now refused, according to statistics from the Institute for Government.

Meanwhile, the proportion of requests successfully overturned by the Information Commissioner – which requesters can appeal to after arguing with the public body – has risen, suggesting a growing culture of refusals.

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