The Spectator

Nadine Dorries: Why shouldn’t a working class MP take a few days off?

Fresh from the jungle, Nadine Dorries is the Spectator’s diarist for this week. As well as observing that each of her 11 fellow contestants on I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here! was ‘probably more right wing than I am’, she also explains why she thought it was acceptable for a ‘working class woman to take a few parliamentary days off’ to go on the show, writing:

Many MPs take jollies from the House of Commons, but in seven years I have never spent a day away from my Westminster duties. This is why I thought I would be allowed to devote a few days of my holiday to a reality TV show. As far as I could see, the Conservative party is intensely relaxed about such absences. Some of its MPs have full-time careers in the City, others run family businesses or write books. We even, via coalition, have Vince Cable, who foxtrotted his way through Strictly Come Dancing. As Parliament was on recess for a week, I thought: no big deal. I thought wrong. Andrew Mitchell, chief whip at the time, announced that I had not asked for permission. (I later found out that he made his pronouncement from his own holiday in Antigua.) The hypocrisy is appalling. An MP can take three weeks off with his legal ‘clients’ and the whips don’t care. But if a working-class woman wants to take a few parliamentary days off — participating in a show watched by millions of ordinary voters — then it’s seen as high treason.

Dorries remains firmly of the belief that even eating a camel toe will help her ‘win a hearing from people who hate politics. Or who normally hate politics’, arguing that the viewers of I’m a Celebrity are the ‘people Tory politicians find difficult to reach (unless you’re a pint of Carling or your name is Boris)’.

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