David Cameron has warned Nadine Dorries she should be representing her constituents rather than appearing on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
The Prime Minister, who has often clashed with Ms Dorries in the past, said it had been “very sensible” of chief whip Sir George Young to withdraw the Conservative whip from the Mid-Bedfordshire MP.
Asked whether the whip would be restored after the show, he said: “When she gets back from the jungle she can explain what she's been up to and why.”
Mr Cameron admitted he did not know in advance that she was planning to enter the jungle for the programme.
“The chief whip made the very sensible decision, saying, ‘Look, you should be either in Parliament or representing your constituents' and so therefore the Conservative whip has been suspended, she's no longer a Conservative MP while this is going on,” he said on ITV1's This Morning, .
“I want Conservative MPs in the House of Commons doing things that the Conservative Party and the country supports — demonstrating how we are going to get on the side of hard-working people, freeze the council tax, help people with their bills, get the economy to recover, that's what we should be doing.
“Obviously Nadine and I have had some run-ins over the years but the chief whip has done the right thing.
“The chief whip took the view — and I back this completely that she made a decision to go out and do this programme — that meant she couldn't be in Parliament, she couldn't be representing her constituents and I think people do expect MPs to do either one or two of those things.”
He dismissed suggestions that Ms Dorries had been treated more harshly than ex-chief whip Andrew Mitchell, who was able to cling on to his job for weeks before resigning over his rant at Downing Street police officers. “The two cases are quite different. If you are in the Australian jungle you can't be representing your constituents in Bedfordshire or Parliament,” he said.
Ms Dorries, who is unaware of the furore over her appearance because contestants are not allowed any communication with the outside world, is facing a potential investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon.
Separately, her constituency Conservative Association is to discuss her future.
During the series she and other contestants will face challenges, including close encounters with creepy-crawlies and rats and “bushtucker trial” meals which have in the past featured bugs, crocodile penis and kangaroo testicles.