Could Nadine Dorries now force a by-election - and, if so, who would she support?
By Paul Goodman
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I suggested earlier today that modern expectations of what an MP is - someone holding down a full-time - might well end the political career of Nadine Dorries, since her constituents and Association were likely to take her decision to spend as much as a month on I'm a Celebrity very badly indeed.
The BBC reports Paul Duckett, chairman of the Mid-Bedforshire Conservative association, saying that members may consider sacking Ms Dorries over her appearance on the show, adding that he only learned about Ms Dorries's decision on Tuesday morning. It adds that "the association is holding an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening" (presumably this evening).
I'm left wondering therefore whether David Cameron's decision to withdraw the party whip from Ms Dorries - technically, it will have been the Chief Whip's decision, but he will scarcely have made it without a view from Downing Street - simultaneouly lets her off the hook while also suspending her. The position is physically difficult, but psychologically - and politically - quite possible.
- Mr Cameron's critics will argue that its one law for the "posh boys" (such as Andrew Mitchell) and another for a working-class woman. Damian Thompson has been swift to draw the contrast.
- By suspending the whip, the Prime Minister has also nudged Ms Dorries towards the exit door. Members of her Association may feel that this is a decision they would rather make for themselves.
- If the mid-Bedfordshire MP is shoved towards that door, might she leap through it herself rather than be pushed? Might she simply stand down on her return from the steaming jungle and cause a by-election in the Bedfordshire mid-winter?
- And if she caused a by-election, who would she support? I have no evidence that the answer might be UKIP, but the question is worth asking. Could she even (gulp) defect? UKIP will win Euro-seats in 2014, you know, in the Bedfordshire area - and elsewhere.