‘I’m a Celebrity’ Nadine Dorries could be de-selected as MP

Constituency party ‘hopping mad’ that she went off to Australia without telling them

Column LAST UPDATED AT 12:20 ON Wed 7 Nov 2012

NADINE DORRIES could find herself in deeper doo-doo in Mid-Bedfordshire than she’ll ever encounter in the Australian jungle, having flown out to Brisbane to take part in the ITV show I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here without warning her constituency party.

The Mole hears that local Tory bigwigs are hopping mad. They had an emergency meeting yesterday when news broke that their MP was going off to the jungle for a month - it was the first they knew of it – and there is now talk of de-selecting her as their MP, which could force a by-election.

Unlike the other by-elections on the horizon, which are either safe Labour seats, or in the case of Louise Mensch’s Corby constituency, a gift to Labour, Mid-Beds is a safe-as-houses Tory stronghold. Dorries is sitting on a 15,000 majority and any Tory hopeful would be flattered to be offered the opportunity to take over.

The question now is whether Mid-Beds will make a move against her while she’s cavorting in Oz or wait for her to return home and explain herself. As The Week reported yesterday, she’s a strong contender to be thrown out of the jungle community early, given her strident views and an ego the size of Queensland.

She’d already lost a lot of friends before she departed for the jungle (where she’s said to be collecting a £40,000 appearance fee). One of the leading Colonel Blimps on the Tory backbenches told the Mole that jungle drums have been beating against Dorries in Mid-Beds for some time.

"The local party has been complaining that she's not spending enough time in the constituency. They are absolutely blazing wild about this and they have a right to be. But it affects us all. In the army it is known as air bombing - she's damaging us all by this sort of behaviour."

Tory Chief Whip Sir George Young announced yesterday that he has removed the Conservative whip. That means Dorries is in effect suspended in Westminster until she returns, at which point he can either restore the whip or recommend she’s kicked out of the party permanently.
 
Sir George, of course, is an old Etonian and a gent, just the sort of 'posh boy' Dorries has denounced as being out of touch with the public.

But her comments to The Sun beg the question: who’s more out of touch with the people of Mid-Beds, ‘posh George’ or ‘mad Nad’? “I'm doing the show because 16 million people watch it,” she told the Murdoch red-top. “If people are watching I'm A Celebrity, that is where MPs should be going."

If the Mid-Bedfordshire party – and/or Sir George - do throw her out, she’s not likely to go quietly. She could even make the ultimate nuisance of herself and defect to UKIP.

Paul Goodman, former Tory MP for Wycombe, blogged on the Tory grassroots website, ConservativeHome: “If she caused a by-election, who would she support?  I have no evidence that the answer might be UKIP, but the question is worth asking.  Could she even (gulp) defect?  UKIP will win Euro-seats in 2014, you know, in the Bedfordshire area - and elsewhere.”

I’m a Celebrity starts on Sunday. Tories would be forgiven for asking the programme-makers: “Can we make sure that snake bite is lethal?” · 

Disqus - noscript

This piece is based on a misunderstanding. De-selection of an MP as the future candidate does not cause a by-election.

Bertie - you have taken the words out of my mouth. I just look at the Conservative Party and despair.