Nadine Dorries suspended by Conservative party in row over I'm a Celebrity appearance

 

Nadine Dorries, the right wing Tory MP, is facing an early and humiliating exit from the House of Commons over her decision to appear on the reality TV show, I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

Party bosses were so furious about the latest surprise sprung on them by the maverick backbencher that they ejected her from the parliamentary party until such time as she gives an explanation of her conduct to the Chief Whip, Sir George Young.

“George Young has suspended the whip from Nadine Dorries. He will have an urgent meeting with her when she gets back. The concern is that she will not be doing parliamentary or constituency business in the meantime,” a party spokesman said.

Penalising her was a high risk move by the Conservative whips, because of the possibility that the huge audiences who watch ‘reality TV’ will warm to her as an outspoken rebel who has defied the party establishment, and a Tory from a working class background who once described David Cameron and the Chancellor, George Osborne, as “arrogant posh boys”. The former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe described her suspension as an 'over-reaction' by 'silly, silly idiots'

It also raises doubts about whether Ms Dorries will want to return to the party fold when she gets back from Australia. Her political career was due to be terminated as part of David Cameron’s plan to cut the size of the Commons down from 650 to 600 MPs, but was saved when the legislation was blocked by the combined opposition of Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party.

But she is now facing a threat from the Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Association to deselect her, which would destroy her chance of being re-elected to Parliament at the next general election in 2015. Local party activists are furious that she did not warn them that she would be appearing on the programme, leaving them to find out from journalists.

Paul Duckett, chairman of the Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Association, said: “If she's doing something completely outrageous that does detract from the credibility of the parliamentary system then the membership of the association will be the ones to decide whether they wish her to remain. If it does denigrate Parliament and her credibility and her status to be able to carry on doing the job then of course we'll have to take action.”

Ms Dorries has made it clear that she will continue drawing her £65,738 a year MP’s salary whilst she is on the programme, for which she is expected to receive a fee of not less than £40,000. Potentially, she could be out of the country for a month.

Reactions from fellow Tory MPs ranged from outrage to ridicule. The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, dropped a strong hint that in government circles they are not especially keen for her to come back, ever. He said: “I'll obviously miss her and I'm going to have to struggle on bravely without her. I shall be watching it and I shall be ringing in religiously every week to keep her there.”

The Tory MP Sarah Wollaston said that Ms Dorries should resign from Parliament if she wants to be a TV celebrity. “She needs to consider what she wants to do, and if she actually wants to do a serious job, which is about representing her constituents, she needs to be doing that here in Westminster, not in Australia,” she told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

Another Tory MP, Michael Fabricant, a party vice chairman, tweeted: “Cameron got Nadine 'Out of here'. Is she now a celebrity? We shall see. Meanwhile she has let down her colleagues and her constituency.”

Ms Dorries has justified her decision by pointing out that participation in the programme will give her access to an audience of 16 million – way beyond the dreams of any other backbench MP. She is hoping to use the programme as a platform to publicise her strongly held opposition to abortion, but the former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik, the only other political figure to appear on I’m a Celebrity… , and who defended her decision to appear, warned that she will be “completely at the mercy of the editors” who may edit out any political comments she makes.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
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

Maths Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teacher require...

KS1 Teacher

£21500 - £31500 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work...

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style