The view from Bedfordshire: 'It's a publicity stunt - that's what she does. Nadine Dorries more of a celebrity than an MP to us'

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She believes her appearance on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here will spark a valuable public debate about abortion and ensure her political views reach an audience of millions. But people on the streets of her Mid Bedfordshire constituency said they would rather Nadine Dorries MP just got on with the job they elected her to do.

Voters living in the largely rural area who spoke to The Independent were critical of her decision to appear on the show while Parliament was in session. Some said it was not becoming of an MP to take part in a reality television programme which sees contestants made to endure a degrading ordeal in search of fame. “It is all a publicity stunt. She is like that: anything to put her name out there. She is more of a celebrity than an MP,” said one store manager, who did not want to be named. She added: “I have never seen her round here; she is a career politician who is not really interested in constituency work.”

One of the main towns in Ms Dorries’ constituency is Flitwick. Ben Allnutt, 35, was loading his shopping into his car as rain began to fall. He said it was not right that MPs should appear on such shows. “She shouldn’t earn any extra from it either,” he added.

Graeme Harding, 46, a local fireman and former soldier, was a little more sympathetic, suggesting that everyone  is entitled time off, and to spend their holidays as they wish. “As long as she has got the work done that she should, then it is up to her. But, personally. I don’t think she should be doing it because she is not a celebrity,” he said. As one constituent pointed out, Ms Dorries will miss key votes in the Commons during her time in the jungle.

In the nearby town of Shefford, the Conservative Association was dealing with an unexpected influx of media interest. Members are still in the dark about Ms Dorries’ plans, the chair Paul Duckett, pictured, said.

“She is a very good MP. I don’t know what she is doing but, if she is using a television appearance for publicity, she would not be the  first politician to do so,” he added.