Nadine Dorries MP: I'm in the jungle for one reason --- a golden opportunity to communicate with sixteen million people
Nadine Dorries submitted this piece to ConservativeHome a week ago, under embargo.
G'day. Is it outrage back home? Do people understand why I am in a jungle, eating only three handfuls of rice a day with a few beans thrown in? That is of course, unless I get a live cockroach or a fish eye (the optic nerves are tough apparently) or worse even... and we all know what I mean!
The fact is that as soon as I finish typing this email, my phone and lap top are confiscated and I don't get either back until I am evicted.
I think many may have guessed that I am a bit of an anti-politics politician. I love it when we MPs can make a difference, such as when we won forced the Prime Minister's hand with regard to the EU budget negotiations, or when we defeated the proposal to introduce Lords reform. Overall, however, I believe that we politicians need to spend less time talking to each other and more time talking to people.
When I was offered this opportunity, and contrary to rumour, I am the only sitting MP to have been offered and was one of the first people to have been signed up, months ago, I seized upon it. Who wouldn't?
An audience of 16 million people for the first and last show and 12 million per show is a very large audience. In the world of messaging, it's huge. It would have been mad to have refused.
The majority of people don't look to Westminster and they don't buy newspapers, as the distribution figures show us. They do however surf the net, watch popular TV and engage with reality shows. if that is where sixteen million people are, it's where politicians need to be too.
I may have to eat a kangaroo's testicle, but I may also get to talk about a twenty week limit for abortion. I may have to sleep with rats, but I may also get the chance to big up Boris whilst I am at it. It is a publicity gift.
MPs are not popular and so I don't expect to be in the jungle for very long butI hope I can do something to make some people think again. That some of us politicians come from very normal backgrounds and went into politics for reasons of deep belief and principle.
Whilst the half term recess is underway, I will be working with rats and snakes in a jungle. it's not really very different from Westminster after all.
Needless to say, I won't be writing my Sunday column again until I have uttered the words, I'm a politician, get me out of here! Now, there's an idea for a show.
Nadine Dorries will be donating her parliamentary salary for the period she is away to children's charities in her constituency. Despite some reports she insists she did inform the Whips Office that she would be away for up to a month.