Nov 7 2012
Suspended Tory MP Nadine Dorries believes Prime Minister David Cameron will be "relieved" to see the back of her after she flew to Australia to take part in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here and admitted: "I am a thorn in his side."
She flew out this week without telling her colleagues she was to be a contestant on the ITV1 show for up to a month.
And Dorries has justified her absence by saying it will help voters see a new side to politicians - and unlike some colleagues, she has never previously taken a week away during Parliamentary time.
ITV has finally confirmed she is in the line-up, more than a day after it had been the talk of Westminster.
Conservative chief whip Sir George Young took the decision to suspend the whip from Ms Dorries because of concerns she will not be doing parliamentary and constituency work while she is making the show. Contestants are cut off from all communication with the outside world, and her decision to take part prompted a hail of criticism from fellow Tory MPs for signing up for the show, which returns to TV on Sunday.
As she prepared to take part in the show - which will also features actresses Linda Robson and Helen Flanagan, and darts player Eric Bristow - she confessed she had not seen it.
The 55-year-old is unaware of the furore which kicked off since her inclusion emerged but she has correctly predicted it would cause a stir. "I haven't even had time to watch the show. And so I definitely don't have a game plan. I just want to be myself," Ms Dorries said. "I know there will be a backlash that I am going on this show, but I would like to point out that I have never before taken a week away in Parliamentary time whereas a lot of other MPs have."
Her constituency chairman said that a special meeting of Conservative Association members in Mid-Bedfordshire would be called to decide whether any action should be taken against her.
But her suspension was branded "loony" by former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe, who said: "If Nadine does get it right out there, they have got themselves into a very silly situation. Why on earth couldn't they have said it is a matter between Dorries and her constituents and left it at that? Silly, silly idiots."
But the suspension was applauded by Tory MPs Simon Kirby - who tweeted that "MPs should be team players and there to represent their constituents" - and Michael Fabricant, who said Ms Dorries had "let down her colleagues and her constituency".