MPs swap credibility for glare of publicity

Nadine Dorries MP returned from the Celebrity jungle bleating that her reality antics have been criticised because she's a woman. It's all due to nasty sexism from men plus jealousy from women, she told LBC's Iain Dale.

Ian Monk: 'Reality TV afficionados prefer to see a Tory MP buried alive with cockroaches than listen to her discussing EU rebates.'
Ian Monk: 'Reality TV afficionados prefer to see a Tory MP buried alive with cockroaches than listen to her discussing EU rebates.'

No-one, she suggested, ever criticises male MPs who go on holiday to the Caribbean. Maybe that's because they tend not to parade around on prime-time TV clad in skimpy bikinis while they're out there.

Her post-eviction observations are as ludicrous as her original claim when she took unauthorised leave of absence from Parliament to fly out to I'm A Celebrity.

Her pre-show publicity rationale for joining the wannabee and has-been world of celebrity was to foster political debate through the show's huge audience.

In fact, despite the presence of the Conservative MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, the show carried virtually no discussion of any political issue. That, said Dorries airily, 'was all down to the editing'. Quelle surprise.

Reality TV afficionados prefer to see a Tory MP being buried alive with cockroaches than listen to her discussing EU budget rebates or education policy.

Another light was shone on the brave new world of 'celeb-minister' by the antics of Dorries' one-time Tory colleague Lousie Mensch. She too vigorously promoted herself - albeit through a Parliamentary Select Committee investigating media culture and practices - before abandoning Parliament citing family reasons.

A move to the US and a crushing Conservative by-election defeat in the seat she abandoned mid-term has done nothing to curb her passion for publicity.

Hilariously, a recent bylined column for The Sun on Sunday appeared, the paper told its readers, because 'Katie Price is on holiday'. Maybe Katie, aka Jordan, was busy filling in on the backbenches for Mad Nad that week as part of a new celebrity job swap.

The headlines created generally make shocking PR for democracy and for women. While it is poetic that Dorries was made to eat everything apart from humble pie before being thrown out of the jungle, it is less so that celebrity-obsessed UK is getting the MPs it deserves ...

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

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