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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

MBDA UK Ltd: Electronic Sub-System Design Verification engineer

Flexible working, annual bonus, pension & more.: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the oppor...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Architect

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? MBDA has e...

MBDA UK Ltd: Test Systems Design Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

MBDA UK Ltd: PCB Technologies Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity?MBDA has en...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor