I’m a Westminster celebrity – get me out of here!

Former MPs have livened up reality shows – think Ed Balls on Strictly, Edwina Currie on I’m a Celebrity and Ann Widdecombe on just about everything. And dare I mention that Lembit Öpik became a Pointless Celebrity? All of those had left Westminster behind when they were invited to appear in the shows, so they were free to build their careers in other directions, however bizarre.

However, some were still serving MPs when they were lured into the world of constructed reality. George Galloway famously gave us a cringeworthy performance of a cat on Celebrity Big Brother. Penny Mordaunt belly-flopped in Splash! Nadine Dorries ate unmentionable things in the I’m a Celebrity jungle.

So were they disciplined in the same way as Matt Hancock has been for taking off for a spell in the back yard of a hotel in Australia? George Galloway represented the Respect Party at the time of his embarrassing entry into reality TV – not a party known for its internal discipline. The Conservative whip was removed from Nadine Dorries for some months after her appearance, but her misdemeanour didn’t stand in the way of her becoming Culture Secretary. Penny Mordaunt was criticised by the Opposition but was not penalised by her party, probably because Splash! was not so much of an … immersive … experience.

Tim Farron reveals that he has been asked to appear in a number of similar shows.

(Tim Farron) said the TV appearances would have been great fun but that his job was to serve his constituents and not swan off for weeks on end doing reality TV.

If you do, by any chance, tend to watch I’m a Celebrity I think you know who to vote for the Bushtucker trials this year.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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5 Comments

  • Helen Dudden 4th Nov '22 - 10:23am

    That’s why Westminster needs a spring clean, another Tory MP been caught lobbying. 5 days holiday.

  • Tristan Ward 4th Nov '22 - 3:56pm

    Vince Cable on that dancing programme…….glass hosies and throwing stones…….

  • Perhaps the issue is whether or not the show means being locked away for weeks on end (Big Brother, I’m a Celeb), or still being available for public duties (Strictly, etc)?
    Lembit was on Radio Wales on Weds, defending Hancock’s decision. I wasn’t paying much attention, but the callers to the phone-in were less than supportive!

    However, the MP for Uxbridge & Ruislip seems to spend more time overseas on holiday than in his constituency, and I’m not aware his party have sanctioned him over it. Seems it’s ok to spend several weeks in assorted overseas luxury holiday accommodation, but 22 days eating bugs and you lose the whip?

  • Nonconformistradical 4th Nov '22 - 5:30pm

    @Tristan Ward
    Vince Cable is a keen ballroom dancer. Even MPs are allowed a hobby aren’t they?

    But I’m not aware that his Strictly.. appearances involved being away for several weeks and unable to attend to his parliamentary and/or ministerial duties.

    (Not that I watched any of the programmes – reality TV is a total bore)

  • Indeed, don’t knock Vince Cable. He appeared on the Christmas Strictly Special so it was only one show. The problem with I’m a Celebrity, Strictly (normal version) and Big Brother is that it can means absences for weeks on end. I have no problems with anyone appearing on any one-off entertainment shows such as HIGNFY.

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