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UK lawmaker suspended for joining reality TV show

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, 9:10 a.m.

LONDON -- A British lawmaker was suspended by her party Tuesday after she swapped the political jungle for the Australian rainforest and became a contestant on a reality TV show.

Conservative legislator Nadine Dorries was under fire for taking part in "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here." The show strands C-list celebrities in the Australian wilderness, subjects them to trials involving assorted creepy-crawlies and lets viewers vote them off one by one.

The Conservatives, who lead Britain's coalition government, said Dorries was being suspended from the party's parliamentary caucus until she could return and meet with Chief Whip George Young, who is responsible for party discipline.

Dorries was criticized by fellow Conservatives for taking up to a month off from her duties to appear on the show. Former Conservative member of Parliament Harry Greenway called the decision "outrageous," and Home Secretary Theresa May said a lawmaker's job "is in their constituency and in the House of Commons."

But Conservative commentator Tim Montgomerie said appearing on the show, which begins Sunday, could help Dorries "present an image of a Tory MP that defies some of the popular preconceptions and caricatures."

It could also backfire.

In 2006, George Galloway, a lawmaker with the small Respect party, appeared on the TV show "Celebrity Big Brother" - and was widely mocked for escapades that included performing interpretive dance dressed in a red leotard and lapping imaginary milk while pretending to be a cat.

Dorries is an outspoken backbencher, best known for her prolific blogging and attempt to restrict access to late-term abortions.

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