Jungle MP Dorries hits back at Neil
Jungle MP Nadine Dorries has appeared to claim she was being hounded over the size of her earnings for appearing on reality television because she was female.
Appearing on BBC1's Sunday Politics programme, Ms Dorries, who spent three weeks in Australia last month after leaving her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency to take part in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, said she was "looking forward" to being allowed back into the Conservative Party.
Asked by interviewer Andrew Neil what size her fee would be when declared on the members' register, she responded: "Do you know, Andrew, anything I earn from the programme - I started the first of my donations yesterday - will be declared in the register of members' interests, but let me ask you.
"You interview every day male MPs, and maybe on this programme today, who earn outside earnings, work as full-time barristers and have other interests. Have you ever asked them what they earn or is it just something you ask to women?"
She went on: "I've never heard you ask a male MP what fee he is being paid for work that he does."
Mr Neil replied: "Maybe you'll have to watch our programmes more often instead of being in the jungle."
Ms Dorries insisted her stint in the jungle "was for the greater good of the Conservative Party", adding: "I think that it showed that Tory politicians aren't afraid to go out and engage with people on their level, and we go to where those people choose to make their life choices and where they want to find out their information."
Speaking about public opinion on her appearance, she said: "The reality is that the reaction on the street has been overwhelmingly positive and when I went into a supermarket the other day, I was cheered, that doesn't happen every day."
She added: "In 2015 a whole new generation of voters will go into the voting booth in Mid Beds, put a cross next to my name and know exactly who they are voting for. Far from being a disaster, I'm a Celebrity was a total success. I have no regrets and I would do it all again."
Ms Dorries, a fierce critic of Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, had a Commons showdown with Conservative Chief Whip Sir George Young over her decision to abandon her constituents. Their talks were "adjourned" and a decision on her future is expected this month.
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