UK & World News

  • 12 November 2012, 22:07

Nadine Dorries To Give MP Salary To Charity

Nadine Dorries is giving the money she earns as an MP while she is on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here to charity.

The MP defended her decision to go on the ITV show, insisting her involvement is a "publicity gift" and chance to communicate with 16 million people.

Writing on the Conservativehome website, Ms Dorries argued that "more people watch the X Factor final than voted in the general election" so the realm of reality TV is "where politicians need to be too".

After pressure over her MP's salary, she pledged to give what she earns from her job while on the programme to children's charities in her constituency.

The MP for Mid Bedfordshire has drawn widespread criticism for swapping her parliamentary duties for the Australian reality TV jungle, and has been suspended by her party while she is away.

Prime Minister David Cameron has backed the decision by Chief Whip Sir George Young to suspend her and said Ms Dorries had not informed him she was taking part in the ITV show.

But in her column - which was submitted a week ago, the politician insisted she had told the Whips Office that she would be away for up to a month.

She also claimed that although she may have to eat a kangaroo's testicle, she could also have the opportunity to talk about abortion time limits or "big up Boris".

"Do people understand why I am in a jungle, eating only three handfuls of rice a day with a few beans thrown in?," she wrote.

"I think many may have guessed that I am a bit of an anti-politics politician... I believe that we politicians need to spend less time talking to each other and more time talking to people."

She continued: "An audience of 16 million people for the first and last show and 12 million per show is a very large audience. In the world of messaging, it's huge.

"It would have been mad to have refused... The majority of people don't look to Westminster and they don't buy newspapers, as the distribution figures show us.

"They do however surf the net, watch popular TV and engage with reality shows. If that is where 16 million people are, it's where politicians need to be too."

She admitted that she did not expect to be in the jungle for very long.

And in a parting shot she said: "Whilst the half-term recess is under way, I will be working with rats and snakes in a jungle. It's not really very different from Westminster after all."

The I'm A Celebrity contestants entered the jungle on Sunday. Split into two teams, they had to race each other to win one last night of luxury.

Ms Dorries and her team lost and were forced to get used to outdoor life one night early.

She and Made in Chelsea's Hugo Taylor were quick to get into a debate, discussing how politicians struggle to reach a wider audience.

And Ms Dorries wasted no time in hitting out at her colleagues, saying: "In Westminster, politicians really have to crack out of this fusty, old-fashioned impression everybody has.

"They think everybody lives in landed estates: everybody's out of touch with real people.

"I think MPs have really got a responsibility - given all the bad press we've had recently - to get out of Westminster and communicate with people on a different level."

The politician and soap star Helen Flanagan found themselves the first picked by the public to take part in a bushtucker trial and will endure a Bug Burial tonight.

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