Dorries: Why I can work for 'free'
Controversial Tory MP Nadine Dorries said that she can afford to work for "free" as she campaigns against parliamentary expenses because she has a good partner who will not let her starve.
The MP for Mid Bedfordshire, whose expenses are under investigation by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), announced on Thursday that she would stop claiming from the end of next month so she can argue for reform of the system.
Ms Dorries - who shot to fame with her appearance on the TV reality show I'm A Celebrity... Get me Out Of Here! - argues that this amounts to working for free because she will have to fund her role with her salary.
Asked how she would be able to afford the move, she told ITV Daybreak: "Well, I have a very good partner who will not let me starve, he will feed me. Most MPs can't afford to do that.
"I come from a council estate, I do not have a rich background, but expenses are there in order for MPs to do their jobs - you can't do your job unless you have a second home in Westminster.
"But the public do not believe that, they do not understand that, because, since I made announcement yesterday morning, I have been overwhelmed by members of the public saying 'Well done, you. That is a great thing to do.' Well, actually, I'm going to be working for nothing because my £3,000 salary (per month) will go to pay for my second home in Westminster, which I need to do my job.
"The public perception is that expenses are something which are given to MPs as an extra - it's not and they have to be scrapped."
Ms Dorries said she was not calling for a pay rise and argued that one solution may be to buy a block of flats for MPs to use as second homes in Westminster.
She also said she believes that there is no longer any abuse of expenses by MPs.
She said: "The whole point of establishing Ipsa was that no MPs have any responsibility for their own expenses - they are now administered by Ipsa, who have actually made the system much more complicated, more inefficient and given more opportunity for the perception of wrongdoing."