Nadine Dorries is the first confirmed participant in the upcoming new series of ITV1 reality show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! She’s also the Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire, leaving her post for the duration of her stay in the Australian jungle during the current Parliamentary session (and apparently without having consulted her party).
Dorries has defended the decision, arguing that it will help her to connect with ordinary voters, while her opponents say an MP’s place is in his or her constituency and that her absence is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
See exactly what the two sides of the debate have to say below – then tell us what you think by voting in our poll…
Nadine Dorries on taking part in I’m a Celebrity
“I’m doing the show because 16 million people watch it. Rather than MPs talking to other MPs about issues in Parliament, I think MPs should be going to where people go. If people are watching I’m a Celebrity… on television, then that is where MPs should be going.”
“I worked right up until I left the UK for Australia. I’ve worked seven years as an MP and I’ve never taken a day off work in Parliamentary time… I’ve worked all through recess and I only had four days off this summer.”
Dorries’ opponents on why they disgaree with her decision
Theresa May, Home Secretary: “Each individual Member of Parliament has to decide how they’re going to do their job and it’s up to Nadine to decide how she wants to do her job. Frankly, I think an MP’s job is in their constituency and in the House of Commons.”
Harry Greenway, former Conservative MP: “This is outrageous. Her local constituency party should think very deeply as to whether she is putting them first or not. She is certainly making a very good case out for herself to be dumped as a candidate at the next election. Whatever fee she receives should go to charity, because her Parliamentary pay won’t stop during her absence.”
Louise Mensch, former Conservative MP (via Twitter): “Nothing sadder than a politician, or ex-politician, on any of those shows. 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.”
Chris Bryant, Labour MP (via Twitter): “I’m bewildered by @nadinedorriesmp decision to spend a month in the jungle. Could we have a by election whilst she’s there?”
What do you think – should a serving MP go on a TV reality show? Vote in our poll below…