Portsmouth North’s Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt has already caused a bit of a stir by opting to take part in ITV’s reality diving show Splash! but she’s not finished there. Mordaunt’s set to take on a brand new dive.
“I’m trying to do a dive that’s never been done before on the programme. Although people have done what they call a back fall, which is what [Diversity star] Perrie did on the first show, I’m actually doing a back dive. Which is where you leap backwards from the board,” Mordaunt explains.
And for someone who's scared of heights – so much so that she had to ask Olympic diver and coach Tom Daley to stand back from the edge of the board – this is quite the leap of faith.
“It has its upsides,” Mordaunt jokes. “I can’t see where I’m going! Which is good if you’re afraid of heights.”
But it’s a dive with very little control, and hasn’t even been attempted in the final of Splash!
“It may go horribly wrong, but either way it will be entertaining,” Mordaunt admits.
Of course, for some, it’s not which dive the MP is taking on, but rather, why she's chosen to join the reality show in the first place.
“I’m doing it because it’s a great fit with a project I’ve been involved in for many years and really care about,” says Mordaunt, whose appearance on the show will raise money for a local lido in Portsmouth that is “running out of money and running out of oomph”.
“It’s right on the sort of message I want to get out there about challenging yourself and staying fit," she says.
“I think you’re obviously worried if your constituents are going to think it’s a good idea or not. On most things I’m able to survey my constituents and say ‘What do you think about this?’ But clearly I couldn’t do that in this case.”
On following in the footsteps of Nadine Dorries, who tried her hand at I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, and the other politicians who’ve given reality TV a whirl, Mordaunt says:
“I think even if they hadn’t done that I would still have the same caveats with Splash! that I’ve got now. Other people have done what they’ve done, they had their own reasons for doing it, mine are my own and I think people get that it’s a distinct thing. It’s not comparable to something that’s not a proper personal development challenge and actually doing some good for your constituents.”
On whether she’s in it to win it, Mordaunt says, "I’m obviously entering into the spirit of doing the best I can. But I strongly suspect that my efforts, and the combination of the fact that lots of people will want [TOWIE star] Dan Osborne’s abs in the semi-final, will mean that I’m unlikely to progress further in the contest.
“I’m not the eye candy of the show, so there’s no pressure on that front at all. I’m not a Perrie in terms of my skills on the board and I’m not Danielle Lloyd. I’m a 40-year-old woman in reasonably good nick who’s going to do her best.”
Splash! continues this Saturday at 7:00pm on ITV, where Mordaunt will dive alongside TOWIE's Dan Osborne, model Danielle Lloyd, musician Paul Young and comedian Patrick Monahan.