Dorries says I'm A Celebrity is like a ministerial overseas trip
Suspended Tory MP says her trip is the same as those of colleague Alistair Burt. He disagrees
NADINE DORRIES has fuelled the controversy over her foray into reality TV by comparing her appearance on ITV show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here to official overseas trips taken by government ministers.
The MP for Mid Bedfordshire, who was suspended by the Conservative Party after it emerged that she would be joining television personalities in the Australian jungle, told her local paper before she left the country that her jaunt was similar to those undertaken by ministers.
Dorries singled out neighbouring Tory MP Alistair Burt as an example. She said he had been overseas for 20 weeks this year in his capacity as a Foreign Office minister, but had not been accused of ignoring the people who voted for him.
"Would they say that to Alistair Burt when he goes abroad each week?" she asked. "Being a minister and an MP is two jobs and he does them both very well. But do they say when he is in Qatar for weeks that he is neglecting his constituency?"
She also pointed out that she usually worked "seven days a week" and added: "Most MPs take parliamentary trips during the year and in seven years I have never taken one."
However, her comments drew what The Times called a "withering" response from Burt, who is currently in Brussels.
"I am surprised that Nadine believes there is some similarity between me being abroad on behalf of the British people, including my constituents, and her taking part in a TV show in the jungle," he said.
He insisted that while away from home he was in constant contact with his constituency office.
"I had not previously commented on Nadine's business," he added. "I hope she no longer feels obliged to comment on mine."
Dorries, who could earn up to £40,000 for her exertions in the jungle, is "oblivious to the furore back home", explains The Daily Telegraph. "She gave all interviews before she left and now has no access to communications."