Midland MP Andrew Mitchell has been dragged into the row over Nadine Dorries appearing I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here – following claims he gave her permission to take a month off so she could take part in the show.
Mr Mitchell, the former chief whip, has issued a statement denying he ever told MP Nadine Dorries she was allowed to skip work.
Ms Dorries was suspended from the Conservative Party after heading to Australia to take part in the programme, where celebrities live in a jungle and face challenges such as eating insects.
The party says she is neglecting her constituents and her duties in the House of Commons.
But Ms Dorries’ daughter insisted she had asked for permission - and received it from Mr Mitchell.
Speaking on ITV 1’s Daybreak, Jennifer Dorries said: “Obviously she did ask for the month off. She did.
“She requested it from the chief whip at the time, that she was going to go away for a month, it’ll be controversial, he said it’s fine, you know, and that was okay.
“He’s obviously not the chief whip any more for obvious reasons but she did get permission to do it, yeah.”
The chief whip at the time was Mr Mitchell, who has since stood down after he was widely criticised following an argument with a police officer at the gates of Downing Street.
But Mr Mitchell’s office told reporters he “was neither asked nor did he agree to Nadine Dorries going off to Australia for a month to take part in ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’”.
West Worcestershire MP Harriet Baldwin said that hard evidence would exist if Mr Mitchell did give the TV appearance his blessing.
She said: “Permission from the whips to be away is a signed and stamped hard copy document called a ‘slip’ with no room for confusion.”
Ms Dorries has been ordered a lamb’s testicle and an ostrich’s anus as part of the show’s “Bushtucker Trials”.
She also spent four minutes locked in a bug-filled coffin in the ground.