David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt join critics of Nadine Dorries' appearance on 'I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here'

 

David Cameron today warned Nadine Dorries she should be representing her constituents rather than appearing on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

The Prime Minister, who has often clashed with Ms Dorries in the past, said it had been "very sensible" of Chief Whip Sir George Young to withdraw the Conservative whip from the Mid-Bedfordshire MP.

Asked whether the whip would be restored after the show, he said: "When she gets back from the jungle she can explain what she's been up to and why."

Speaking on ITV1's This Morning, Mr Cameron admitted he did not know in advance that she was planning to enter the jungle for the programme.

"The Chief Whip made the very sensible decision, saying 'look, you should be either in Parliament or representing your constituents' and so therefore the Conservative whip has been suspended, she's no longer a Conservative MP while this is going on," he said.

"I want Conservative MPs in the House of Commons doing things that the Conservative Party and the country supports - demonstrating how we are going to get on the side of hard-working people, freeze the council tax, help people with their bills, get the economy to recover, that's what we should be doing.

"Obviously Nadine and I have had some run-ins over the years but I think the Chief Whip has done the right thing.

"The Chief Whip took the view and I back this completely that she made a decision to go out and do this programme - that meant she couldn't be in Parliament, she couldn't be representing her constituents and I think people do expect MPs to do either one or two of those things."

He dismissed suggestions that Ms Dorries had been treated more harshly than ex-chief whip Andrew Mitchell, who was able to cling on to his job for weeks before finally deciding to resign over his rant at Downing Street police officers.

"I think the two cases are quite different. If you are in the Australian jungle you can't really be representing your constituents either in Bedfordshire or Parliament," he said.

Ms Dorries, who is unaware of the furore over her appearance because contestants are not allowed any communication with the outside world, is facing a potential investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon.

The commissioner is considering a complaint about the MP and will decide in the coming days whether it warrants a full investigation.

Separately, her constituency Conservative Association is planning a special members' meeting to discuss her future.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt joined criticism of her today, telling Daybreak: "I think we would rather have her in the House of Commons to be honest."

Told that some believed it was a good move for her, he added: "Well I don't agree. A lot of people are very worried about it. And I think we want MPs where they should be, voting in the House of Commons."

Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston said Ms Dorries should resign her seat if she wanted to be a celebrity and should hand her appearance fee - reported to be around £40,000 - to the taxpayer, while Lichfield's Michael Fabricant said she had "let down her colleagues and her constituency".

Announcing her suspension, the Conservative Party cited concerns that she would not be doing parliamentary and constituency work while camping out in the Australian jungle.

But the withdrawal of the whip was denounced as "loony" by former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe, who said it could backfire on the party if the MP proves a hit with millions of viewers.

"If Nadine does get it right out there, they have got themselves into a very silly situation," said Miss Widdecombe, who has herself found new popularity through reality TV since leaving Parliament.

There was some speculation in Westminster that Ms Dorries, who entered Parliament in 2005 and has been one of Mr Cameron's most prominent critics on the Tory backbenches, may defect to the UK Independence Party on her emergence from the jungle.

During the series she and other contestants will face a series of stomach-churning challenges, including close encounters with creepy-crawlies and rats and "bushtucker trial" meals which have in the past featured bugs, crocodile penis and kangaroo testicles.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'