How much will we be paying Nadine Dorries while she's in the jungle?

Tory MP will claim her monthly salary of £5,478 while she competes on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

While David Cameron is unlikely to mind losing Nadine Dorries to the Australian jungle for up to a month as the Conservative MP competes in I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, the public (not least her Bedfordshire constituents) might take a different view. Dorries, who has already arrived in Queensland for the show, has refused to forego her parliamentary salary for the period, meaning that she'll receive as much as £5,478 during her time on the programme (as well as expenses of around £3,218), in addition to a fee of up to £40,000. She said:

I've worked seven years as an MP and I've never taken a day off work in Parliamentary time. I've worked all through recess and I only had four days off this summer.

Parliament is in half-term while I'm there. I've not done anything to prepare for the jungle. I worked right up until I left the UK for Australia.

It's true that Parliament is in recess for a week from 13 November, but her appearance could last for up to a month. At a time when Dorries has voted for cuts to benefits for the poorest people in the country, there's something faintly outrageous about her claiming her public salary whilst gallivanting around the Australian bush.

Update: Labour List notes that as a member of "the Panel of Chairs”, whose role is to "chair Public Bill Committees and other general committees", Dorries receives an additional £8,166 a year, which brings her expected remuneration whilst in the jungle to £6,158.

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has already arrived in Australia in preparation for her appearance on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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No, Jeremy Corbyn did not refuse to condemn the IRA. Please stop saying he did

Guys, seriously.

Okay, I’ll bite. Someone’s gotta say it, so really might as well be me:

No, Jeremy Corbyn did not, this weekend, refuse to condemn the IRA. And no, his choice of words was not just “and all other forms of racism” all over again.

Can’t wait to read my mentions after this one.

Let’s take the two contentions there in order. The claim that Corbyn refused to condem the IRA relates to his appearance on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme yesterday. (For those who haven’t had the pleasure, it’s a weekly political programme, hosted by Sophy Ridge and broadcast on a Sunday. Don’t say I never teach you anything.)

Here’s how Sky’s website reported that interview:

 

The first paragraph of that story reads:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised after he refused five times to directly condemn the IRA in an interview with Sky News.

The funny thing is, though, that the third paragraph of that story is this:

He said: “I condemn all the bombing by both the loyalists and the IRA.”

Apparently Jeremy Corbyn has been so widely criticised for refusing to condemn the IRA that people didn’t notice the bit where he specifically said that he condemned the IRA.

Hasn’t he done this before, though? Corbyn’s inability to say he that opposed anti-semitism without appending “and all other forms of racism” was widely – and, to my mind, rightly – criticised. These were weasel words, people argued: an attempt to deflect from a narrow subject where the hard left has often been in the wrong, to a broader one where it wasn’t.

Well, that pissed me off too: an inability to say simply “I oppose anti-semitism” made it look like he did not really think anti-semitism was that big a problem, an impression not relieved by, well, take your pick.

But no, to my mind, this....

“I condemn all the bombing by both the loyalists and the IRA.”

...is, despite its obvious structural similarities, not the same thing.

That’s because the “all other forms of racism thing” is an attempt to distract by bringing in something un-related. It implies that you can’t possibly be soft on anti-semitism if you were tough on Islamophobia or apartheid, and experience shows that simply isn’t true.

But loyalist bombing were not unrelated to IRA ones: they’re very related indeed. There really were atrocities committed on both sides of the Troubles, and while the fatalities were not numerically balanced, neither were they orders of magnitude apart.

As a result, specifically condemning both sides as Corbyn did seems like an entirely reasonable position to take. Far creepier, indeed, is to minimise one set of atrocities to score political points about something else entirely.

The point I’m making here isn’t really about Corbyn at all. Historically, his position on Northern Ireland has been pro-Republican, rather than pro-peace, and I’d be lying if I said I was entirely comfortable with that.

No, the point I’m making is about the media, and its bias against Labour. Whatever he may have said in the past, whatever may be written on his heart, yesterday morning Jeremy Corbyn condemned IRA bombings. This was the correct thing to do. His words were nonetheless reported as “Jeremy Corbyn refuses to condemn IRA”.

I mean, I don’t generally hold with blaming the mainstream media for politicians’ failures, but it’s a bit rum isn’t it?

Jonn Elledge edits the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric, and writes for the NS about subjects including politics, history and Daniel Hannan. You can find him on Twitter or Facebook.

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