A half-baked plan and a whole baked spider: time to get Dorries out of Parliament

This is not the way to engage the public in politics, it's a way to let them down

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The Independent Online

There was in interesting interview on BBC Radio 3 Counties this week. A fellow Mid-Bedfordshire constituent had received a letter telling her she was being wrongly investigated for fraud and was likely to lose her benefits leaving her with nothing. Quite rightly, and in some distress, she wanted to speak to her MP about it. Her MP was not available. Her MP was 30,000 miles away in a box of insects.

All residents of Mid Bedfordshire are now without an MP. We have no voice in the House of Commons while our democratically elected representative is earning £40,000 on a reality TV show. Nadine Dorries has not only broken her promise to represent her constituents, she is failing them in the most humiliating way possible.

I agree that politicians need to do more to engage with a wider section of the electorate. Political apathy is a huge and growing issue, born out of mistrust of some self-serving politicians and now ravaging public life to the extent that the turn out for this week’s police commissioner election has been woefully low. That said, I don’t think that a TV show famous for publically humiliating participants was ever going to be the way to repair the broken relationship between MPs and the people whom they are paid to represent. As far as I know Nadine Dorries hasn’t been seen on the show talking about policy, or enlightening viewers on the  inner workings of parliamentary democracy. She has, however, eaten a baked spider.

All three main parties offered voters the power to ‘recall’ corrupt MPs in their manifestos before the 2010 election following the expenses scandal. This power has yet to become legislation and will continue to be ignored by Parliament because, as we all know turkeys will never, ever vote for Christmas.

At the moment there are no defined paths to force the recall of an MP so my change.org petition is the only democratic way to of raising the issue. Taking heart from other campaigns, I set up a petition to ask that Nadine face her local Conservative association to be reselected and a by-election held in the constituency.

Twitter and Facebook built momentum for the campaign and local media has helped promote us wider across the constituency. Now the petition is getting national coverage and, in just 12 hours on Wednesday, we doubled our signatories. People from around the UK are signing and telling us how they have been let down by their MPs and they would love to hold them to account as happens with elected officials in America.

Politicians should not seek celebrity, they should act in the interests of the people who voted for them and fulfil the role that they are paid handsomely to carry out. I believe that our MP went into the jungle with one eye firmly on her post-Westminster career. I and nearly 400 of her constituents believe that post-Westminster career should start as soon as possible.