Nov 19 2012
Former Government chief whip Andrew Mitchell has denied that he gave MP Nadine Dorries permission to take a month away from Parliament to appear in TV reality show I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here.
The Mid-Bedfordshire MP outraged many Conservative colleagues when she flew off to Australia without apparently seeking permission from the party or informing her local Conservative Association.
She had the Tory whip suspended as a result and faces a meeting with Mr Mitchell's successor Sir George Young when she returns, to decide whether she will be readmitted to the party benches.
Her daughter claimed Ms Dorries did clear her plans with Mr Mitchell, who quit as chief whip last month, shortly before she left for the jungle.
Jennie Dorries told ITV's Daybreak that Mr Mitchell agreed that her mother could take the time off, though she did not say whether the chief whip was aware that she was intending to take part in I'm A Celebrity.
Jennie Dorries said: "She did ask for the month off. The chief whip gave her permission.
"She did all she had to do before she left. She made arrangements for someone to take her place on Remembrance Sunday."
But Mr Mitchell's office later released a statement to say: "Andrew Mitchell was neither asked nor did he agree to Nadine Dorries going off to Australia for a month to take part in I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here."
Meanwhile, one of Ms Dorries's other daughters, Cassie, admitted she has repeatedly voted for her mother to take part in stomach-churning challenges in the jungle.
She told Daybreak she could not help but laugh at her mother's efforts on the notorious bushtucker trials, revealing: "I have voted for my mum for both of the trials - it's much more interesting to see her do it."