Tory MP Nadine Dorries has defended her involvement in I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! as she faced more criticism for the TV jungle jaunt.
Ms Dorries has been suspended by her party - with the whip withdrawn - and lambasted by her constituents for trekking off to a snake-infested island in the Australian jungle.
The politician was even accused of snubbing a Remembrance Sunday service in her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency by taking part in the hit ITV1 reality show, which begins tonight.
In a prepared piece written for the Conservative Home website, published this morning, the rebel Tory said she "did inform" the Whips Office she would be away for up to a month.
She described I'm A Celebrity... as a "golden opportunity" to speak to 16 million people who she said are often alienated from politics.
– Nadine Dorries
When I read that more people watch the X-Factor final than voted in the general election, it is something I pondered on. The majority of people don't look to Westminster and they don't buy newspapers, as the distribution figures show us. They do however surf the net, watch popular TV and engage with reality shows. if that is where sixteen million people are, it's where politicians need to be too.
Ms Dorries said she was the only sitting MP to be offered a slot of the jungle survival show and signed up months ago. "It would have been mad to have refused," she added.
The site also said Ms Dorries will be donating her parliamentary salary earned during her time in the jungle to children's charities in Mid Bedfordshire.
Ms Dorries is the first sitting Westminster Member of Parliament to participate in a reality television show since George Galloway's appearance in Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.
The new series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! begins tonight in typically dramatic fashion as the two teams race each other across a snake-infested island in a bid to win one last night of luxury.