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The Mid-Bedfordshire MP has had the whip withdrawn, a party source said.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 997.

    Celebrity? Really? Perhaps your ego is getting a bit big for your constituency love. Alternatively, this could be a new approach to politics. If Ofcom would agree to only let your voters phone in, we could find out whether they ACTUALLY want you back in office or whether they're happier with you swanning of into the jungle!

  • rate this

    Comment number 996.

    Typical of that talentless old media tart Opik to support her. Dorries clearly has no concern for her constituents, is a disgrace to the job of MP and should be sacked.

  • rate this

    Comment number 995.

    I really cannot get very excited about this. I'm sure other MPs take a break or go on foreign "fact finding" trips whilst Parliament is sitting. At least she is not a whips' poodle and is independent minded.

  • rate this

    Comment number 994.

    Most MPs do bug-all anyway, even if they bother turning up at Westminster

    She'll be the only MP in the whole of the UK whose whereabouts are known for an entire month

    Don't claim it on your expenses luv, the starched shirts are after you

  • rate this

    Comment number 993.

    She is obviously more interested publicising her own marginal political opinions, which I guess the reality show offers a platform for (though a shoddy one), than she is in fighting for her constituents. Which wouldn't matter much if her job wasn't being a constituency MP...
    I guess she won't be that for too much longer, as the Conseravtive Party are clearly and understandably furious about this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 992.

    "They work for you"


    Well it just goes to show that they don't.

    I am not saying Cameron is wrong but like other MP's, would it not be better if he holidayed in the UK rather than in some yacht somewhere.

    Ms Mensch has no room to speak of loyalty: resigning a post is betrayal of voters who trusted her into government. Far better to have let the position lapse than abandon constituents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 991.

    To the editor:
    Please forward these comments for her attention!

  • rate this

    Comment number 990.

    If she was to donate all the money she makes out of the show to an established registered charity(not political) then maybe she would be on the right track to redeem herself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 989.

    Throw the lot out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 988.

    Is she allowed on a TV show? Well, if it was about politics or governmental policies; yes. But as an elected politician sitting in the House of Parliament, she should remember, rather like all the muppets there, that they are there to serve the people in their constituencies, not their own over-inflated egos (or the businessmen that pay to elect them and expect them to stay bought, which they do).

  • rate this

    Comment number 987.

    Id rather be shipwrecked with Nadine than Lembit?

    As seen above

  • rate this

    Comment number 986.

    a celeb is someone in the media spotlight NOT for their ideas/thoughts. its a shame - but to be expected- that politics may attract some people who just want celebrity (ie to be in the media for whatever). this shallow, sham democracy - no wonder people (most of them the main victims of politicians policies, dont bother voting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 985.

    How come Cameron withdrew the whip from her so quickly, unlike his treatment of his chief whip after pleb-gate when the police officer alledgedly 'did not know his place'? Another posh boy getting his own back?

  • rate this

    Comment number 984.

    I am all for her 20 week cause but surely that is a national cause and not the reason she is an MP, she was elected to do the bidding of her constituents and spending a month away from her work must be breach of contract , which means she should be dismissed at once.
    One bad call has ruined her career.

  • rate this

    Comment number 983.

    Whilst nadine maybe entitled to disappear into the jungle, let's hope she doesn't feel obliged to reappear

  • rate this

    Comment number 982.

    Ship all the MP's out there, then let ATOS assess how many would be allowed to return, that'll sort 'em out.

    Nadine's got it sussed though, free return flight to Oz, £40K in her pocket, and all the food she can eat...

  • rate this

    Comment number 981.

    Dorries "I think MPs should be going to where people go"

    Well in times of economic strife it is certainly not on a paid working trip to the Australian outback.

    Still, hopefully when she returns she will be going (P45 in hand) to the place where many people of the UK have sadly gone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 980.

    I hope she is not collecting her M P's salary, while she is away. Oh silly me, she is a politician, she will be paid her over inflated salary

  • rate this

    Comment number 979.

    The people of her constituency are being denied representation by her absence, that alone is a scandal!

  • rate this

    Comment number 978.

    Between them she and Louise Mensch have put back women being taken seriously as politicians by years....


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