The parliamentary standards commissioner’s inquiry into Nadine Dorries’s appearance on I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here was evidently an eventful process. Here are the headlines from the report:
1). The standards committee, the cross-party panel of MPs which sanctions MPs after the standards commissioner has reported, ordered Dorries to apologise to the House of Commons for failing to declare earnings from the show. However, the commissioner said that Dorries’s failure to register her shareholding interest in a media consultancy company called Averbrook until June 2013 was an ‘inadvertent’ oversight.
2). Dorries said that she had to undertake media work because she was facing bankruptcy. She wrote to the commissioner, ‘As a single parent with financial responsibilities for a disabled ex husband, an elderly mother and a child in full time education, I faced the possibility of bankruptcy or finding a way to pay the bill.’
3). Dorries refused to tell the commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, what she had earned from the show because she had signed a confidentiality agreement with ITV. The standards committee declared that Dorries should not have signed such an agreement.
4). The committee also agreed with Hudson’s view that Dorries had breached the standards code through her ‘attitude to the commissioner’s inquiries’. The general view is that the code of standards cannot be effective without MPs’ co-operation. Dorries said that she never sought to impede the inquiry.
5). At an acrimonious point in the inquiry (item 23), Dorries accused Hudson of leading a ‘witch-hunt’ and threatened to sue. The standards committee described this conduct as ‘unacceptable’.
6). Dorries said that her views on abortion make her a regular target of spurious complaints designed to undermine her credibility.
The whole business makes for rather unedifying light entertainment. Ms Dorries apologised ‘fully and unreservedly’ for an ‘inadvertent’ breach of the rules with which she has always sought to comply. And that was that.