NADINE Dorries has said she will not formally step down as an MP until she gets answers from Downing Street about the decision to deny her a peerage – a move that will prolong the by-election struggle for Rishi Sunak.

The former culture secretary insisted it is “absolutely my intention to resign” but said her requests for documents “is now sadly necessary” as she accused No 10 of “varying and conflicting statements” over her absence from Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.

Downing Street has expressed bewilderment at her delay in officially quitting, following her announcement last week that she would depart her Mid Bedfordshire seat “with immediate effect”.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday evening, Dorries responded to “much speculation” about when she will resign in writing.

READ MORE: Nadine Dorries steps down as MP 'with immediate effect'

“To put an end to this … I am awaiting responses to my subject access requests submitted to HOLAC (House of Lords Appointments Commission), Cabinet Secretary and the Cabinet Office where I will then take the time to properly consider the information I am provided,” she wrote.

“I have requested copies of WhatsApps, text messages, all emails and minutes of meetings both formal and informal with names of senior figures unredacted…

“It is absolutely my intention to resign, but given what I know to be true and the number of varying and conflicting statements issued by No10 since the weekend, this process is now sadly necessary.”

She also vowed to “continue to serve my constituents of Mid Bedfordshire”, after Sunak earlier said her constituents “deserve proper representation”.

On Wednesday, the Conservatives triggered the by-elections in the former prime minister’s seat and in that of his ally Nigel Adams after they officially resigned in writing.

But Dorries has failed to do so, and with her demands for documents likely to take time, the three by-elections will almost certainly have to take place over separate days.

The move could prolong the pain for the Prime Minister as he faces a battle to defend three Conservative seats at a time of dire polling as he publicly scraps with Johnson.

Asked if there is frustration over the delay, Sunak’s press secretary said: “It’s obviously unusual to have an MP say they will resign with immediate effect and for that not to take place.

“The Prime Minister believes the people of Mid Bedfordshire deserve proper representation in this House and he looks forward to campaigning for the Conservative candidate in the by-election.”

Pressed if that means her constituents are not currently being served properly, the spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister believes that it’s important that they have certainty.”

Conservative Chief Whip Simon Hart has moved a motion known as a “writ” for by-elections in Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency and Adams’ Selby and Ainsty seat.

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That means there are between 21 and 27 working days for the votes to be held, with possible dates being July 13 or 20 as they are always held on Thursdays.

But the third by-election was on hold as official notice from Dorries was outstanding despite saying she would quit on Friday.

She claimed “sinister forces” had denied her a seat in the House of Lords as requested in Johnson’s honours list.

Tory MP Aaron Bell suggested Dorries should get on with it, claiming she has been more focused on her work on TalkTV.

“I don’t know what Nadine’s doing, to be honest,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme.

“I think it would be good for her constituency in Mid Bedfordshire… if they could have proper representation, because Nadine’s barely been seen in Parliament these last six months while she’s been earning money on telly.”

Home Office minister Chris Philp told ITV’s Peston: “If she is going to stay on for a bit, which she’s perfectly entitled to do if she wants, it is important obviously the people who serve as MPs should do the work that is entailed in serving as an MP.”

Labour said it would be “campaigning to win” in all the by-elections, “however many we end up having and whenever we end up having them”.

A spokesman said the party was ruling out any sort of deal with the Liberal Democrats in the fight for the seats.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “Local people deserve better than a vacant MP who isn’t even bothering to turn up to work. Mid-Bedfordshire has been taken for granted by Conservative MPs for far too long.

“Nadine Dorries should step aside now to give people the chance to elect a proper local champion.”