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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Commons Confidential: What happened at Tom Watson's birthday party?

Finances, fair and foul – and why Keir Starmer is doing the time warp.

Keir Starmer’s comrades mutter that a London seat is an albatross around the neck of the ambitious shadow Brexit secretary. He has a decent political CV: he was named after Labour’s first MP, Keir Hardie; he has a working-class background; he was the legal champion of the McLibel Two; he had a stint as director of public prosecutions. The knighthood is trickier, which is presumably why he rarely uses the title.

The consensus is that Labour will seek a leader from the north or the Midlands when Islington’s Jeremy Corbyn jumps or is pushed under a bus. Starmer, a highly rated frontbencher, is phlegmatic as he navigates the treacherous Brexit waters. “I keep hoping we wake up and it’s January 2016,” he told a Westminster gathering, “and we can have another run. Don’t we all?” Perhaps not everybody. Labour Remoaners grumble that Corbyn and particularly John McDonnell sound increasingly Brexitastic.

To Tom Watson’s 50th birthday bash at the Rivoli Ballroom in south London, an intact 1950s barrel-vaulted hall generous with the velvet. Ed Balls choreographed the “Gangnam Style” moves, and the Brockley venue hadn’t welcomed so many politicos since Tony Blair’s final Clause IV rally 22 years ago. Corbyn was uninvited, as the boogying deputy leader put the “party” back into the Labour Party. The thirsty guests slurped the free bar, repaying Watson for 30 years of failing to buy a drink.

One of Westminster’s dining rooms was booked for a “Decent Chaps Lunch” by Labour’s Warley warrior, John Spellar. In another room, the Tory peer David Willetts hosted a Christmas reception on behalf of the National Centre for Universities and Business. In mid-January. That’s either very tardy or very, very early.

The Labour Party’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, is a financial maestro, having cleared the £25m debt that the party inherited from the Blair-Brown era. Now I hear that he has squirrelled away a £6m war chest as insurance against Theresa May gambling on an early election. Wisely, the party isn’t relying on Momentum’s fractious footsloggers.

The word in Strangers’ Bar is that the Welsh MP Stephen Kinnock held his own £200-a-head fundraiser in London. Either the financial future of the Aberavon Labour Party is assured, or he fancies a tilt at the top job.

Dry January helped me recall a Labour frontbencher explaining why he never goes into the Commons chamber after a skinful: “I was sitting alongside a colleague clearly refreshed by a liquid lunch. He intervened and made a perfectly sensible point without slurring. Unfortunately, he stood up 20 minutes later and repeated the same point, word for word.”

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 19 January 2016 issue of the New Statesman, The Trump era