Nadine Dorries suspended as Tory MP in I'm a Celebrity row

Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries has arrived in Brisbane to take part in the show

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Nadine Dorries has been suspended by the Conservative Party over her decision to appear on ITV1's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here.

The Mid-Bedfordshire MP has had the whip withdrawn, a party source said.

Ms Dorries will be the first sitting MP to appear on the show, which could see her being away from her job in the Commons for up to a month.

The chief whip will meet her when she returns from Australia, when she will be expected to explain herself.

The Conservative Party is concerned about Ms Dorries' inability to do parliamentary and constituency business while she is taking part in the programme.

Ms Dorries said she wanted to use her appearance on the reality show to raise awareness of issues she is interested in, such as reducing the time limit on abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks.

'Heated debates'

"I'm doing the show because 16 million people watch it. Rather than MPs talking to other MPs about issues in Parliament, I think MPs should be going to where people go," she told the Daily Mail.

"I'm not going in there to upset people, but I have opinions. There are certain causes that I'm interested in, one of which is '20 Weeks'.

"I will be talking about this issue around the campfire. I hope there will be some lively, heated debates."

But she has come in for criticism over her decision to enter the celebrity jungle, with Home Secretary Theresa May saying: "Frankly, I think an MP's job is in their constituency and in the House of Commons."

Former MP and reality show contestant Lembit Opik: "Nadine Dorries is completely entitled to go into the jungle"

Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston said Ms Dorries should resign, telling the BBC: "I was horrified, frankly. I think it just makes her look ridiculous and it brings politics into disrepute."

Paul Duckett, chairman of the Mid-Bedforshire Conservative association, said members may consider sacking Ms Dorries over her appearance on the show, adding that he had only learned about Ms Dorries appearance when media arrived in the constituency on Tuesday morning.

Mr Duckett said Ms Dorries was a hard-working MP but the appearance might "detract from the gravitas" of her role.

Prime Minister David Cameron - who has publicly clashed with Ms Dorries in the past - earlier refused to be drawn into the row, saying: "Nadine Dorries can speak for herself on this issue."

'Z-list celebrity'

Relations between No 10 and Ms Dorries, a former nurse, have been strained since the prime minister made a joke at her expense in the Commons, describing her as "frustrated". He subsequently apologised.

Ms Dorries grabbed headlines by describing Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne as "two arrogant posh boys" who were out of touch with the real world.

Former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik, who took part in I'm a Celebrity in 2010 after losing his seat, told the BBC the Conservative leadership was "out of touch with the zeitgeist of the nation".

He added: "I'm outraged by the fact that it thinks she's been wrong to do something that can put politics in touch with the public."

But former Tory MP Louise Mensch, who recently resigned from the Commons for family reasons and who has had a well-publicised spat with Ms Dorries over her decision, tweeted: "Nothing sadder than a politician, or ex-politician, on any of those shows."

Labour MP Steve McCabe said: "David Cameron was too weak to stop Nadine Dorries appearing on a reality TV show.

"But even after dithering over what to do all day, by suspending her he's acted more quickly over an MP who called him an 'arrogant posh boy' than he ever did over a chief whip who swore at a police officer."

In February 2010, Ms Dorries took part in the Channel 4 documentary series Tower Block of Commons, in which MPs moved in with benefit claimants on a deprived council estate.

George Galloway, the only other sitting MP to have taken part in a reality game show that took him away from the Commons, when he spent three weeks on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006, also faced criticism that he was neglecting his constituents.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 957.

    Certainly one of the more unpleasant Con MPs. Totally selfish, and really without a conscience toward others - smallminded, narrowminded and bigoted. I really dislike sexism but I'm almost glad Cameron treated her so dissmissively, since given her mean behaviour towards others she deserves a good dose of it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 956.

    This is near the start of a curve, the cult of celebrity over substance that governs so much of young peoples lives. In going to the jungle she is trying to connect with an audience that tories don't usually come into contact with. As she is in camerons black books at the moment she will appeal more not less.

    Stop her, the next politico celeb stunt will be worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 955.

    will she be forfeiting her months wages and expenses or will she be putting in for holiday pay?

  • rate this

    Comment number 954.

    Don't be surprised if she doesn't claim for a business class flight to Brisbane on her MPs expenses, and still claim her accommodation and other allowances for the month she is away!!

    Is she going to forgo her accommodation allowance for that month, and take unpaid leave? Who gave her time off? The rest of us have to get prior approval from our employer (in her case the electorate)..

  • rate this

    Comment number 953.

    I'm looking forward to seeing all the expenses she claims for the entire month she is unavailable.
    £1500 monthly rent, £184 council tax plus gas, electricity, phone, travel etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 952.

    "Breaking News"

    The "Kiss a Down Under Tasmanian Devil" project are first in with major sponsorship.

    The idea for a dollar you kiss the "Devil" or the "Politician" a real cute one guys.

    People like the "Devils" they don't smell as much, don't bite as much, are less noisy, have better table manners,are cute, are worth saving, are furry, are loyal & are 500/1 odds on to win !

  • rate this

    Comment number 951.

    I think this is one way of saying "I quit !!!" and I don't think she really cares if she does not have a job when she comes back to UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 950.

    I'm a Brit...Get Me Out of Here!

  • rate this

    Comment number 949.

    I thought you had to be an insect to be an MP. Didn't realise you also had to eat them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 948.

    Tomorrow I think I'll announce to work that I'm going to abandon the job I'm paid to do in favour of a month's jaunt overseas to get paid to do another job.

    Then I'll be coming back to just carry on with my job here.

    Oh, no I've just realised I'm not an MP so I'll be fired for dereliction of duty before I leave.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 947.

    "It might detract from the gravitas of her role"?
    More gravy train than gravitas I suspect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 946.

    She obviously knows her time is up an MP so is taking the easy life and thinks she can be another so called trash celeb to blight our screens. Please she is suspended, what a waste of space, with millions of people in the UK suffering from the crisis in the economy she should be ashamed of her actions, hope she gets booted of the show first and then realises the foul up she has made. Bush tucker.

  • rate this

    Comment number 945.

    I cannot believe how pompous some people are being about this. It's not like she's a cabinet minister or anything. Just for a change an MP is coming out from the parliamentary closet and having some fun, but I hope her fee goes to charity. Her constituency will get some good publicity from this. There are more important things going on like making sure Mitt Romney doesn't get elected!

  • rate this

    Comment number 944.

    A ringing endorsment from the ridiculous Lembit Opik says all you need to know. He was hardly a fine example of an MP was he?

  • rate this

    Comment number 943.

    936 Phosgene..

    I get you, tho with the scandals of cash fer questions , expenses and lobbying,horse trading and political shenanigans, it`s hardly been good fer perception..

    Watching the debates in Parliament shows the commitment to public service by many..

  • rate this

    Comment number 942.

    Everyone is entitled to a holiday. However, we don't expect schoolteachers to take holidays during term time, and policemen live under the shadow of having leave cancelled when extraordinary events takes place. So, we certainly don't expect parliamentarians to waltz off to the jungle on a whim. That's really all it boils down to. If she absent when parliament is sitting, she should be sacked.

  • rate this

    Comment number 941.

    Another attention seeker I suppose becoming an MP ticks a box of things to do like Mensch or whatever her name is. When will MP's start taking life seriously at least turn up for work I hope she has her pay docked and possibly the local party will review whether she should be considered fit to represent them

  • rate this

    Comment number 940.

    Meanwhile back in the real world.

    Latest score is BBC 1 Tory MP 1, 'peacemonger Dave' is trying to flog the Saudi's some fighter jets, lots of uninformed people think the result of the US elections actually makes any difference to anything, Greece is having a national 48 hr strike.

    Yet a no mark Tory MP invokes such passion. So tell me, when did we lose our way so badly?

  • rate this

    Comment number 939.

    Sadly this appears to be a trend in modern politics. Lord Carrington said that there has to be honour in politics and resigned after the Falkland Islands had been invaded. There is no honour in politics, just look at the leadership, expenses scandal, police abuse, BskyB deal, the west coast line fiasco. Another child abuse scandal, which has sparked an inquiry into the original inquiry

  • rate this

    Comment number 938.

    She clearly believes her political career will be over at the next election so she is doing this silly programme to make sure of that outcome. The UK needs politicians who want to serve the people - not themselves in this nakedly selfish manner.


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