By politics.co.uk staff
The controversy which met Nadine Dorries' decision to appear on I'm a Celebrity was driven by sexism, she claimed today.
The Mid Bedfordshire MP had the whip withdrawn after she flew to Australia to take part in the show, leaving her constituents without representation in parliament.
"I am very sure that William Hague, following his resignation as leader of the party, spent far more than three sitting days away from parliament whilst he was writing his books and speaking on the after-dinner circuit earning vast amounts of money. Did he have his whip suspended?" she wrote on the ConservativeHome website today.
"In fact, a considerable number of MPs, including many backbenchers, supplement their salaries with outside earnings which involve them having to occasionally, or in some cases frequently, miss days away from parliament. Do the press dedicate numerous front pages to their extra curricular activities?
"Following Vince Cable's handling of the BSkyB deal he appeared on Strictly Come Dancing. Oh, how the press loved him. Well, of course, they would, he’s a bloke."
Dorries, who irritated the Tory high command when she called George Osborne and David Cameron "arrogant posh boys", also focused her fire on then-chief whip Andrew Mitchell, who told the press he had not authorised her appearance on the programme.
"The biggest disappointment over my decision to take part in the show over the half term break has been the revelation of the selective memory of Andrew Mitchell," she said.
"I am aware that many reading this may think I was rather stupid to put my trust in the man famous for plebgate and for this I will cry mea culpa.
"Even though I knew I would be back in the UK fairly promptly following the half term holiday, I requested a month off to do something 'very controversial'.
"Not only did he grant the request, we laughed at how relieved the prime minister would be to know I was out of his hair for up to a month."
Dorries said she appeared on the programme to raise awareness of her choice political issues, including abortion, and to reconnect MPs with the public.