Dorries could face discipline for I'm a Celebrity disappearance

Nov 6, 2012

Tory Nadine Dorries may be breaking MPs' code of conduct by agreeing to take part in reality show

THE CONSERVATIVE MP Nadine Dorries is facing questions over her conduct, according to newspaper reports, after she flew to Brisbane, Australia to take part in the ITV reality show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here, apparently without permission.

Dorries, who recently called David Cameron and George Osborne "posh boys" and wants tougher abortion laws, is the first sitting MP to agree to take part in the long-running show, at a rumoured fee of £40,000.

Conservative sources have told The Daily Telegraph that the Tory party is likely to look into whether Dorries is breaking the MPs' code of conduct, which dictates that she must "always behave with probity and integrity".

The Daily Mail claims she could be subjected to a "three-line whip" and told to get back to Westminster where she belongs. Unless she's one of the first to be thrown out of the jungle camp – always a possibility given her strident views – she stands to miss a crucial vote on the EU budget and George Osborne's Autumn Statement on 5 December.

Fellow MPs of both parties have expressed shock at Dorries's decision to leave her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency for up to a month.

Labour's Chris Bryant tweeted: "I'm bewildered by @nadinedorriesmp decision to spend a month in the jungle. Could we have a by election whilst she's there?"

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said: "Frankly, I think an MP's job is in their constituency and in the House of Commons."

Dorries herself told The Sun: "I'm doing the show because 16 million people watch it. If people are watching I'm A Celebrity, that is where MPs should be going.

"I'm not going in there to upset people, but I have opinions."

The Sun's political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, is not persuaded, saying "Mad Nad" has sparked a serious democratic question: "Who will represent her constituents for a month now she has flounced off to the other side of the world?" If she did not seek Cameron's permission, then "Can he really allow her to keep the Tory whip?"

A rare word of support for Dorries comes from Tim Montgomerie, editor of the Tory grassroots website Conservativehome. "She wants to present an image of a Tory MP that defies some of the popular pre-conceptions and caricatures.

"She may be voted off the show quickly and the popularity that follows her appearance may be a bubble that quickly bursts. There is a possibility, however, that this Liverpudlian of working-class roots will become one of our party's best known MPs.

"I don't think that's a bad thing although I don't suspect David Cameron will agree."

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