UK & World News
I'm A Celeb MP Was Given Time Off, Say Family
The daughter of suspended Tory MP Nadine Dorries has insisted her mother had permission to take a month off from Parliament.
Jennie Dorries said former chief whip Andrew Mitchell gave the backbencher the go-ahead to have such a long break.
She did not say if the Tory office was aware that her mother, the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, was jetting off to take part in I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!
"She did ask for the month off. The chief whip gave her permission. She did all she had to do before she left," Ms Dorries told ITV's Daybreak.
"She made arrangements for someone to take her place on Remembrance Sunday."
However, Mr Mitchell has denied he gave Ms Dorries permission to take the time off.
His office released a statement saying: "Andrew Mitchell was neither asked nor did he agree to Nadine Dorries going off to Australia for a month to take part in I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here."
Ms Dorries, an outspoken critic of David Cameron, was suspended from the party by new chief whip Sir George Young after flying to Australia to take part in the reality show.
She claims it is an opportunity to bring politics to a wider audience but sparked anger for abandoning her constituents and missing key Commons votes.
The Prime Minister has said he backs the decision to suspend her and there is speculation the MP could defect from the Tories when she returns to the UK.
Ms Dorries' stint in the jungle has so far seen her locked in a box and inundated with maggots and cockroaches as part of her first bushtucker trial, which she failed.
She later won food for her camp by enduring one of the dreaded eating challenges, which saw her forced to tackle dishes including camel's toe and a baked spider.
Her other daughter Cassie admitted she had been repeatedly voting for her mother to take part in the stomach-churning challenges.
"I have voted for my mum for both of the trials - it's much more interesting to see her do it," she said.