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Nadine Dorries Has To Wait For Whip Ruling
Nadine Dorries has been put on probation by the Tories after returning from her stint in I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!
The Mid-Bedfordshire MP has been warned her suspension from the party will not be lifted until she can prove she has built bridges with her constituents and fellow MPs.
Ms Dorries expressed confidence that she would soon be back on the Tory benches - but party sources made clear she is "very much in limbo".
The MP was suspended when it emerged she was heading to the jungle in Australia to participate in the ITV reality show, despite Parliament being in session.
She insisted it was an opportunity to reach out and connect with the public but was the first contestant to be kicked off the programme.
The MP was summoned to meet with Tory Chief Whip Sir George Young on Tuesday morning after flying back to the UK to face the music.
After the meeting, a spokesman for Sir George said: "The whip has not been restored and nor will it be until she proves that she can rebuild bridges with her constituents, her association and her parliamentary colleagues."
However, a cheerful Ms Dorries insisted: "I think we will be fine" and described the talks as "very good-natured" and "very happy".
"We have adjourned the meeting and we are reconvening this time next week, if not before," she added.
She also stressed that she wanted to stay in Parliament.
"Of course I want to be an MP. An MP is not doing a job, it is a life choice. If I didn't want to make that life choice, I wouldn't be doing it, I can assure you," she said.
The outspoken backbencher claimed she still had a "huge amount of support" in her constituency and had returned to more than 700 emails which were "very complimentary".
She denied that she was trying to cultivate an alternative career in television, saying that she had been trying to find new ways of engaging with the public.
"I have gone to a place where 12 million people go and engaged with them at their level," she said.
"I don't want a television career. I do want a platform which engages with the public on a different level from that which Westminster offers."
The MP also claimed that she still did not know how much she was being paid by ITV for her appearance on the show, amid reports of a £40,000 fee.
Ms Dorries has been fighting ever since she emerged from the jungle, arguing that former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell had given her permission to take time off.
Mr Mitchell told Sky News that he had not given her the go-ahead to be away in November and that the first he knew of it was when publicity around the show began.
Ms Dorries claims that she has only missed three sitting days in Parliament, with the rest falling over half-term.
On Monday night, she described the furore as "slightly hysterical" and said the show had done wonders for her profile, calling herself the "best-known MP in Britain".