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I did have permission - jungle MP
Nadine Dorries has insisted that she warned the Government chief whip she was taking a month off for something "quite controversial" before entering the jungle for I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!.
After becoming the first contestant voted off the latest series, the Tory MP must now face the music in Westminster and her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency where colleagues and constituents alike were shocked at her participation.
Because of the rules of the show, Nadine was unable to announce in advance that she was going to the Australian jungle. When her decision to take part was disclosed just over a fortnight ago, she had the Tory whip withdrawn and faced criticism from Prime Minister David Cameron and fellow MPs.
But she said today that she received permission from the then-chief whip Andrew Mitchell to have a month away in November.
"In all of my seven-and-a-half years I've never taken a day away in parliamentary time, and ... a lot of MPs will take between four to six weeks a year," she told ITV1's Daybreak.
"And he said that was fine and I could take the month away. And I didn't tell him what for, because I couldn't, because I was bound to confidentiality. But I did tell him what I was going to do would be quite controversial."
Mr Mitchell, who has since resigned over his row with police at the gates of Downing Street, has insisted that she neither sought nor was given permission to appear on I'm A Celebrity. He reiterated that today.
But Nadine accused him of being "clever with words" in a way that "epitomises politicians".
Nadine will have to explain her actions to Mr Mitchell's successor as chief whip, Sir George Young, who suspended her from the parliamentary party earlier this month.
The MP said today she has an office set up in her hotel room in Australia: "I've already been back at work, actually. What is overnight to you, as soon as I got out of the jungle I was straight back to work... some of the flak that has been thrown at me, I'm afraid, just isn't true."