Another jibe at Cameron?
In a sense. The Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire has elected to forgo the trifles of representing her constituents and being present for the 5 December mini-Budget in favour of the meatier challenge of reality TV. Nadine Dorries, a politician so rarely on-message that she has been saddled with the moniker "Mad Nad", will venture into the Australian jungle on Sunday for the latest series of ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! This latest sortie against the Conservative Party's reputation has drawn both derision and ire.
Has she been sacked?
Chief Whip Sir George Young has suspended Ms Dorries from the party until she arrives back in the UK to explain herself. "The concern is that she will not be doing parliamentary or constituency business in the meantime," a spokesman said. The Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Association's members, meanwhile, have been awakened from their slumber and will meet soon to discuss her future.
Anyone in favour?
Ann Widdecombe – herself no stranger to the bright lights of showbiz – said the Government's response was "heavy handed", while part-time wrestler Lembit Opik tweeted "Go gal!". Less enthusiastic was Theresa May, who chipped in: "Frankly, I think an MP's job is in their constituency and in the House of Commons." Dorries' frequent sparring partner Louise Mensch was reluctant to stick the boot in, but she somehow managed to do so for 20 consecutive hours via her Twitter account. The day's best comments came from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. "I'll obviously miss her and I'm going to have to struggle on bravely without her," he said. "But I, like a loyal friend, will be voting to keep her in as long as possible. I shall be ringing in religiously every week to keep her there."
It begs the question – why is she doing it?
"I'm doing the show because 16 million people watch it," she said [it's closer to 11 million, but there you are]. "Rather than MPs talking to other MPs about issues in Parliament, I think MPs should be going to where people go." Among the issues she wants to promote is her belief that the time limit for abortions should be reduced to 20 weeks. But there'll surely be limited time to air these views between picking remnants of kangaroo penis from her teeth. George Galloway entered the Big Brother house in 2006 with the aim of educating the nation on the middle east and the ills of the West, but ended up supping milk from Rula Lenska's lap.
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