Nadine Dorries: fate in the balance after jungle stint

Nov 27, 2012

MP must face wrath of Chief Whip today after return from I'm A Celebrity reality TV show


OUT of the jungle, into the Chief Whip's office. Nadine Dorries will find out today if her much-derided decision to take part in the reality TV show I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! has cost her her membership of the Tory party.

Dorries meets Sir George Young today and, according to the BBC's James Landale, will have the chance to explain the decision which has already led to her being suspended from the Conservatives.

Landale says the issue will boil down to one of form-filling: if Dorries took the trouble to get the necessary "chit" signed by the 'Pairing Whip' – the person in the Whip's office responsible for planned absences – she should be off the hook.

Dorries has claimed she secured a verbal 'OK' from Young's predecessor, the unfortunate Andrew Mitchell, whose outburst against policemen who wouldn't let him ride his bike through the Downing Street gates forced him to resign.

Mitchell has denied this but, says Landale, it doesn't matter what he said to Dorries anyway: her absence was a matter for the Pairing Whip, not for Mitchell. Without a properly filled-in "application for authorised absence", she doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Today's decision will not be the only hurdle facing Dorries: as The Mole reported earlier this month, she also risks being deselected as an MP by the local Conservative Association in her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency.

Dorries – known by opponents on the Tory benches as 'Mad Nad' – was the first 'celebrity' to be voted off the show this month, leaving after 11 days. Comedian Brian Conley left the programme first, quitting for "health reasons".

Still in the Australian tropical forest eating unpleasant parts of animals and enduring torture at the hands of Ant and Dec are boxer David Haye, darts legend Eric Bristow, Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts, TV chef Rosemary Shrager, EastEnders actress Charlie Brooks and reality TV star Hugo Taylor.

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