I’m a Celebrity… contestant Nadine Dorries MP has pledged to donate all the money she would have earned in Parliament during her stint in the jungle to children’s charities in her constituency.
The announcement was made in the footer of a column written by Dorries for ConservativeHome before she left for Australia and published last night following an embargo.
In the piece, the Member for Mid Bedfordshire reiterated her reasons for appearing on I’m a Celebrity, saying that the ITV reality show offered her an opportunity to share her political beliefs with a huge national audience.
She wrote: “I believe that we politicians need to spend less time talking to each other and more time talking to people. When I read that more people watch The X Factor final than voted in the general election, it is something I pondered on.
“The majority of people don’t look to Westminster and they don’t buy newspapers, as the distribution figures show us. They do however surf the net, watch popular TV and engage with reality shows. If that is where 16 million people are, it’s where politicians need to be too.”
Dorries, who is reported to have received a £40,000 payment for going into the jungle, began discussing politics with Made in Chelsea’s Hugo Taylor during I’m a Celebrity 2012’s first episode, which aired on Sunday evening.
“In Westminster, politicians really have to crack out of this fusty, old-fashioned impression everybody has,” she said.
“They think everybody lives in landed estates; everybody’s out of touch with real people. I think MPs have really got a responsibility given all the bad press we’ve had recently to get out of Westminster and communicate with people on a different level.”
She added: “We just don’t communicate with enough people that way. 16 million people watch this programme. 16 million people do not watch Prime Minister’s Question Time or Question Time. The viewing figures of Newsnight are what – 200,000? Millions of people watch popular TV.”
Dorries’s decision to appear on I’m a Celebrity… has caused a storm of controversy and resulted in her being suspended from the Conservative Party.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, appeared on This Morning last week and congratulated his party’s Chief Whip for taking a “very sensible decision” in ensuring that Dorries “is no longer a Conservative MP” while she is away in Australia.