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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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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