Tories withdraw whip after MP Dorries chooses ‘I’m a Celebrity’

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The Conservative Party last night withdrew the whip from MP Nadine Dorries after it emerged she was planning an extended absence from Westminster to appear on TV’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

A senior party source said the Mid-Bedfordshire MP would remain suspended pending a meeting with chief whip Sir George Young.

The MP is facing a barrage of criticism after it was revealed that she could be in the Australian bush for up to a month filming the ITV show beginning on Sunday.

A Conservative spokesman said: “The concern is that she will not be doing parliamentary or constituency business in the meantime.”

Ms Dorries, 55, who has been a prominent backbench critic of Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, will face eating bugs and offal as the first serving MP to take part in the programme.

But her stint in the bush –which could see her missing an EU budget vote and potentially be away for Chancellor George Osborne’s mini-Budget – caught even her own colleagues off-guard.

Her constituency chairman said he was unaware of her involvement in the show and Home Secretary Theresa May said she believed an MP should be doing their job in their constituency and in Parliament.

Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston said she should resign as an MP if she wants to become a celebrity.

“We have a serious issue in Parliament with under-representation of women... This sends out entirely the wrong message about why women are important in Parliament,” she said.

Former Minister Ann Widdecombe condemned the withdrawal of the Tory whip.

“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,” she said.