06/11/2012 08:55 GMT | Updated 06/01/2013 05:12 GMT

Is It Acceptable For MP Nadine Dorries To Participate In 'I'm A Celebrity.. Get Me Out Of Here!'?

Tory MP Nadine Dorries is facing a barrage of criticism after heading to Australia for up to a month to take part in reality TV show 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!'

The 55-year-old, who represents Mid Bedfordshire, will face eating bugs and offal as the first serving MP to take part in the programme.

But her stint in the jungle means she is likely to miss an EU budget vote and could potentially be away for Chancellor George Osborne's UK mini-budget.

Dorries, who earns more than £65,000 as an MP, has flown out to Brisbane to prepare for the show. She also stands to pick up a fee for appearing on the programme.

She justified her decision to take part, telling The Sun: "I'm doing the show because 16 million people watch it. If people are watching 'I'm A Celebrity', that is where MPs should be going. I'm not going in there to upset people, but I have opinions."

An ITV spokeswoman declined to comment on Dorries's inclusion in the show. She said: "ITV have not announced the line up for 'I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!'"

Dorries is already facing criticism for skipping her parliamentary duties. Former Conservative MP Harry Greenway said: "This is outrageous. Her local constituency party should think very deeply as to whether she is putting them first or not.

"She is certainly making a very good case out for herself to be dumped as a candidate at the next election. Whatever fee she receives should go to charity, because her parliamentary pay won't stop during her absence," he added.

Ex-MP Louise Mensch, who gave up her Corby seat in August to live with her husband in America, said in a message on Twitter: "Nothing sadder than a politician, or ex-politician, on any of those shows. Just imagining the scene in the whips' office if I said I wanted to skip Parliament for weeks to go on a celebrity TV show."

The ITV1 series returns to screens on Sunday as the latest intake of contestants are seen entering the jungle camp.

Other figures expected to take part in this year's show include actress Linda Robson and ex-'Coronation Street' star Helen Flanagan, who played Rosie Webster. Darts player Eric Bristow is also said to be taking part.