Sir George Young refuses to let reality TV MP back into party ranks

Basingstoke Gazette: North West Hampshire MP Sir George Young North West Hampshire MP Sir George Young

GOVERNMENT Chief Whip and North West Hampshire MP Sir George Young has refused to restore under-fire MP Nadine Dorries to the Conservative Party parliamentary ranks following her controversial appearance on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

Sir George had suspended the Mid Bedfordshire MP from the parliamentary Conservative Party for taking time off to enter the Australian jungle for the ITV reality show.

Ms Dorries, who was repeatedly voted to take part in unpleasant bushtucker trials by viewers before becoming the first celebrity to be voted out of the show, had a 15-minute meeting with Sir George last Tuesday after returning from Australia.

Sir George told Ms Dorries, who has been unrepentant about her decision to appear on the show, that she would not be restored to the Parliamentary party until she has rebuilt her relationships with constituents, party activists, and Tory MPs. She is expected to meet Sir George again in December to re-evaluate the situation.

A spokesman for Sir George said: “The whip has not been restored and nor will it be until she proves she can rebuild bridges with her constituents, her association and her parliamentary colleagues.”

Ms Dorries told BBC radio that her meeting with Sir George was “very good natured” and “a very happy meeting”. However, the decision not to restore the whip means that she will have to sit as an independent MP in the Commons, at least until the next meeting with Sir George.

Ms Dorries flew to Australia last month and claimed to have been given permission by former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell. She was suspended on November 6 after her involvement with the show emerged.

In an interview with her local paper, Ms Dorries described reaction to her decision to “spend my holiday” on a reality show as “slightly hysterical”.

Ms Dorries is paid £65,738-a-year as an MP, and she has confirmed that she would donate a month’s salary to local playschemes in her constituency. She has also described reports that she was paid £40,000 to appear on the show as massively exaggerated.

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