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British MP skips Parliament for Queensland reality TV

Date: November 07 2012


Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party has suspended the MP Nadine Dorries over her decision to go to Australia for as long as a month to appear on the reality TV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

Dorries, who has repeatedly criticised Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne for being out of touch with the concerns of ordinary voters, has already arrived in Queensland to film the show.

The member of Parliament may miss key government business such as Osborne's economic statement on December 5 and a ratification vote on the European Union budget.

Chief whip George Young, who is in charge of party discipline, "has suspended the whip from Nadine Dorries," the Conservatives said in an emailed statement. "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."

By withdrawing the whip the Conservatives are making Dorries sit as an independent legislator.

"I'm frightened of rats, but then again I do work with them," Dorries, 55, told London's Sun newspaper. "I'm doing the show because 16 million people watch it. If people are watching I'm a Celebrity, that is where MPs should be going."

Dorries has criticised Cameron and Osborne as "arrogant posh boys who don't know the price of milk" and called Osborne a "coward" for sending a junior minister out to defend a government U-turn. Her parliamentary district has been under threat of vanishing under boundary changes.

The reality show, made by Britain's ITV network, forces celebrities to live in a jungle camp and perform challenges including eating insects and touching dangerous animals such as snakes. Previous winners have used the show as a springboard to better their careers.

Britain's opposition Labour Party MP Chris Bryant has taken to Twitter to say he is "bewildered" by Dorries' decision, adding "could we have a byelection whilst she's there?"

Louise Mensch — a former Conservative MP whose resignation in order to live with her husband in the US has prompted a special election in the district of Corby next week — also criticised the decision.

"Nothing sadder than a politician, or ex-politician, on any of those shows," Mensch said on Twitter. "Just imagining the scene in the whips' office if I said I wanted to skip Parliament for weeks to go on a celebrity TV show #notpretty."

Bloomberg

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