It says something about how Nadine Dorries regards her role as MP that she feels free to head off to Australia for up to a month to record I’m A Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here.
If David Cameron succeeds in overruling Nick Clegg, boundary changes will eliminate Dorries’ present constituency, and she’s said enough to make herself unpopular with the crony power in the Tory party that she’s unlikely to be offered another.
If Dorries intends to go on campaigning for the US-style radical right-wing agenda exemplified in the UK by Christian Concern/Christian Legal Centre she will need a reason for the British press to pay attention to her. At the moment, she’s an MP: albeit a backbencher disliked by the powerful in her own party.
Appearing on I’m A Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here is a high-risk gamble.
Nadine Dorries did not (that I can find) say that Sally Bercow’s appearing on Celebrity Big Brother had “reduced her husband and his office to ‘a laughing stock’.” Dorries did say that, and was quoted saying that in a story about Sally Bercow appearing on CBB, but this was in reference to an earlier interview with Sally Bercow.
Jim R Manning tweeted this and then seems to have realised he’d got it wrong and deleted it, but by that time it had taken on something of a life of its own:
— amol rajan (@amolrajan) November 6, 2012
That people were so willing to believe that she had said that speaks volumes about her current unpopularity…
Everyone knows (I hope) that the storyline on reality TV is created by editing. Granted there has to be material there to work with, but the presumption that Nadine Dorries will be making a fool of herself is not necessarily so. It depends how the ITV Granada team decide to edit the material available.
Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home admits he knew about this plan months ago:
“Her ambition isn’t, of course, to persuade any of the viewers about specific policies (she’s unlikely to get any opportunity to talk in those terms) but perhaps, just perhaps, to present an image of a Tory MP that defies some of the popular pre-conceptions and caricatures.
“She may be voted off the show quickly and the popularity that follows her appearance may be a bubble that quickly bursts.
“There is a possibility, however, that this Liverpudlian of working class roots will become one of our party’s best known MPs.
“I don’t think that’s a bad thing although I don’t suspect David Cameron will agree.”
told [Daily Mail] she was taking part in order to raise awareness of issues she is interested in, such as reducing the time limit on abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks.
“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.
“I’m not going in there to upset people, but I have opinions. There are certain causes that I’m interested in, one of which is ’20 Weeks’.
“I will be talking about this issue around the campfire. I hope there will be some lively, heated debates.”
(If this comes to pass, none of Dorries’ prolife policy diatribes can be broadcast.)
Will it work out for her? Well, of course I hope it doesn’t. But just because she’s a bit of a bigot who tells lies about her constituency activities and pretends she’s being persecuted for her views, doesn’t mean she can’t come across well on a reality-TV programme. I gather George Galloway did…
“I didn’t know it was a real jungle until three weeks ago. I’m frightened of rats, but then again I do work with them.” – Nadine Dorries
She might also have said that her experience of reality TV includes BBC Parliament. But that might have been too close to the bone. Dorries is going to promote herself as a celebrity: and she succeeded in drawing political attention to herself on the first Tuesday in November in the year of the Obama/Romney reality show…
BREAKING Mid-Beds Conservative association to hold emergency meeting today on Nadine Dorries’ future as MP. Knew nothing of I’m A Celeb
— James Chapman (Mail) (@jameschappers) November 6, 2012
They’re a bit early for an “emergency meeting” (with popcorn) because the first episode of I’m a Celebrity… get me out of here! won’t be broadcast till Sunday 11th November. Will Nadine Dorries wear a red poppy in the jungle?
How much will Dorries be paid while she’s there?
Dorries, who has already arrived in Queensland for the show, has refused to forego her parliamentary salary for the period, meaning that she’ll receive as much as £5,478 during her time on the programme (as well as expenses of around £3,218), in addition to a fee of up to £40,000.
Shall we ask her:
How can anyone live a normal life who can do that? Surely these people cannot be in employment because if they are, how can they work? if they aren’t then it’s time they got a job which involves being sat at a key board because there’s nothing much up with their fingers, brain or attention span!!
While Dorries is busy calling people out for being benefit scroungers, £5478 is over 49 weeks of Job Seekers Allowance at the highest rate.
Sweet deal for Dorries, eh?
BREAKING: Nadine Dorries has been suspended from the Conservative Pary pending an urgent meeting with the Chief Whip Sir George Young.
— Tom Scholes-Fogg (@tscholesfogg) November 6, 2012
Should be noted that this doesn’t actually mean a thing unless Nadine Dorries decides to let it. She remains the MP for Mid Bedfordshire until Cameron calls an election, which probably won’t be until 2015.
She can’t be recalled or made to resign: the only way she could involuntarily cease to be an MP is if she became bankrupt. (Financially, not ethically, I mean.) She hasn’t consistently voted with her party for a long time in Parliamentary terms. If she’s sufficiently popular with her constituents she might win as an independent.
So there are some people who like her, and some who loathe her. She can generate headlines, practice hypocrisy and nepotism, mislead, money-grab, shag other people’s husbands, take bad advice, is blatantly opportunistic and appears never to have been blighted by self-doubt.
Taking all that on board, she’s an excellent candidate for celebrity.
With the taxpayers’ trough of state denied her and nothing to rely upon except her undeniable flair for guff, fluff and gobbing off, the only route left to her is the George Galloway Expressway, with stop-offs scheduled at Opikville, Midsummer Mensch and Widdecombe Historical Village.
Update, 11th November: Nadine Dorries submitted this piece to ConservativeHome a week ago, under embargo:
G’day. Is it outrage back home? Do people understand why I am in a jungle, eating only three handfuls of rice a day with a few beans thrown in? That is of course, unless I get a live cockroach or a fish eye (the optic nerves are tough apparently) or worse even… and we all know what I mean!
Apparently Nadine Dorries says she will be “donating her parliamentary salary for the period she is away to children’s charities [unspecified] in her constituency”. She also says she did tell the Conservative Whip that she’d be away for up to a month. But, I suspect, not that she was planning to appear on reality TV.
Donate to Abortion Support Network for every episode that Dorries stays in the jungle.