A CONTROVERSIAL politician accused of abandoning her constituents to appear on a reality television show should forfeit her £40,000 appearance fee, Burton’s MP has said.
Andrew Griffiths joined South Derbyshire’s Heather Wheeler in condemning Nadine Dorries’s decision to take up to a month off work to appear on I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here! Conservative Mrs Dorries, 55, flew to the Australian jungle to take part in the hit ITV show without notifying House of Commons authorities or her party.
Mr Griffiths said the outspoken Mrs Dorries had ‘abandoned’ her voters ‘to seek 15 minutes of fame’. He also called on her to hand her £40,000 fee for appearing on the show to charity.
Mrs Dorries has been suspended from the Conservative Party but will still receive her full MP’s pay during her time on the show, worth more than £5,000, although she has pledged to donate this to a good cause.
Mr Griffiths said: “Only yesterday I was talking to a voter from Nadine’s constituency who felt let down. I hope she chooses to give her £40,000 to a worthy charity and get on with her job.”
He continued: “I don’t have a problem with past politicians appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, Big Brother or even The X Factor, but I do have a problem with people who are elected to represent a constituency disappearing for a month.
“This is not about politics, this is about being elected to do a job and choosing to abandon that to seek 15 minutes of fame.” He added: “Nadine says she went to the jungle to connect with ordinary people, but her £40,000 fee might show the real reason she went.”
Before flying Down Under, Mrs Dorries argued that the show would give her the chance to raise political issues in front of a much larger audience.
Meanwhile Mrs Wheeler, a committee member of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, said it was surprising Mrs Dorries had agreed to appear on the show.
“It’s not really appropriate,” Mrs Wheeler said. “I was surprised she had not made any arrangements with her local party or the party whips. That said, it’s addictive viewing and I hope she does really well.”
Both Mr Griffiths and Mrs Wheeler said they would have declined the chance to appear on the show.