Nadine Dorries: Hero or Villain?


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The Independent Online

There is a journalistic aphorism that if a dog bites a man it is not news, but if a man bites a dog it is. And yet in spite of this, newspapers thrive on stories about models doing drugs (shock!), footballers cheating on their wives (horror!) and, this past couple of weeks, a politician seeking to raise her profile by appearing in a reality television programme (gasp!).

Nadine Dorries is no stranger to the cameras and they have rarely, if ever, been kind to her. In September 2011, the Prime Minister "humiliated" her in the House of Commons by failing to answer her question and saying, "I know the Honorable Lady is extremely frustrated …" before collapsing into his seat to howls of laughter from all sides.

Later that year, Dorries was back: this time only to be savaged by Malcolm Rifkind on Newsnight for her views on Europe.

Then, last May, Ian Hislop's gentle teasing of Dorries on Have I Got News For You led the comedian Reginald D Hunter to quip: "And she's on his team." To which Hislop responded: "It's a very temporary coalition."

Unbowed, Dorries was there again on the BBC's Daily Politics show, only to tie herself in knots this time over her views on gay marriage. Will she ever learn?

Let's hope not. Because as her latest stunt – a stint on I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! –proves, Dorries is to politics what Prince Philip is to diplomacy. And though she entered the jungle with a view to gaining airtime for her largely odious ideas, instead ratings soared as, first she ate an ostrich's anus, and then joined the ranks of Robert Kilroy-Silk in becoming the first person to be eliminated by a lack of public votes. (And look what that did for Kilroy-Silk's career.)

Who needs a career in politics, anyway? When you are as original, entertaining and unpredictable as Dorries, you don't need to care what those "arrogant posh boys" at the top think. Anyway, there's always Come Dine With Me, Celebrity Big Brother and Strictly.