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Nadine Dorries Joins I'm A Celebrity
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries could face a backlash from her constituents after heading to Australia for up to a month to take part in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
Ms Dorries, 55, who represents Mid Bedfordshire, is risking the anger of those she represents for taking extended leave from her £65,738-a-year day job and has also faced questions from senior MPs.
Ms Dorries' appearance on the show, which begins on Sunday, means she stands to miss an EU budget vote and Chancellor George Osborne's autumn statement on the economy.
She is already in Brisbane preparing for the programme and justified her decision by telling The Sun: "I'm doing the show because 16 million people watch it. If people are watching I'm A Celebrity, that is where MPs should be going.
"I'm not going in there to upset people, but I have opinions."
Her decision will infuriate senior colleagues as she did not follow long-standing party rules by asking permission from the Chief Whip or Prime Minister David Cameron.
A senior Conservative source told Sky News: "This came as a surprise to everyone."
Asked about Ms Dorries' decision during his tour of the Middle East, the Prime Minister said: "It's up to Nadine to speak for herself."
When asked if she risked losing the party whip, he joked: "The whips might be relieved if she did."
Home Secretary Theresa May told ITV's This Morning: "I think an MP's job is in their constituency and in the House of Commons."
Ms Dorries' sojourn in the jungle has attracted criticism on Twitter and calls for her to donate any fee to charity.
Former Tory MP Harry Greenway, said: "This is outrageous. Her local constituency party should think very deeply as to whether she is putting them first or not.
"She is certainly making a very good case for herself to be dumped as a candidate at the next election.
"Whatever fee she receives should go to charity, because her parliamentary pay won't stop during her absence."
Former Tory MP Louise Mensch, who gave up her Corby seat in August to live with her husband in America, wrote: "Nothing sadder than a politician, or ex-politician, on any of those shows.
"Just imagining the scene in the whips' office if I said I wanted to skip Parliament for weeks to go on a celebrity TV show."
Ms Dorries mocked Ms Mensch for her decision to leave politics and accused her of being "void of principle" in a blog in August.
The MP has also courted controversy in her political career and earned a reputation for outspoken attacks against David Cameron.
Earlier this year she branded the Prime Minister and chancellor George Osborne as "two posh boys who don't know the price of milk".
In 2010, Ms Dorries appeared on another reality show, Tower Block of Commons, which challenged politicians to live on a council estate and get by on jobseekers' allowance of £64.30-a-week.
But she was caught cheating when it emerged she had stashed a £50 note in her bra.
Although she is the first serving MP to appear on I'm A Celebrity, Liberal Democrat Lembit Opik appeared on the show shortly after losing his seat in the 2010 general election.
He backed Ms Dorries' decision, tweeting: "Good on Nadine Dorries for the jungle if she's really going in. Go gal!"
George Galloway was heavily criticised for appearing on Celebrity Big Brother in January 2006, while serving as the†MP for Bethnal Green and Bow.
MP Tim Montgomerie, the editor of Conservative Home, wrote: "When, some months ago, Nadine told me, in strictest confidence, that she was going to do this I tried to persuade her not to.
"But she wasn't for budging and I can increasingly understand why.
"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."