Equal marriage critic Nadine Dorries has been reinstated as a Conservative MP, having been suspended by the party following her appearance on the ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.
The Mid Bedfordshire MP, one of the most vocal critics of David Cameron’s policy to introduce equal marriage for gay couples, was suspended by the Conservatives in November 2012 and has since been sitting in the Commons as an Independent.
Ms Dorries insisted she had been given permission to take a holiday by the former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, although Mr Mitchell said he had not been told what she was planning to do with her time off.
After the suspension, Prime Minister David Cameron said Ms Dorries needed to earn the affection of her colleagues before she could return.
Rumours had been circulating that she was prepared to defect to the UK Independence Party following the local elections.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said last week: “Nadine is one of a handful of Conservatives in the Commons from a Northern working class background. Of course we would talk to her. Why wouldn’t we? If she decided she wanted to come to us it would be their loss and our gain.”
Nadine Dorries is one of the most vocal Conservative opponents of equal marriage.
The divorced MP wrote on the Conservative Home website in May 2012: “Gay marriage is a policy which has been pursued by the metro elite gay activists and needs to be put into the same bin. I have yet to meet a gay couple in my constituency or beyond who support it; in fact, the reaction has been quite the opposite. Great Britain and its gay couples don’t live on Canal Street in Manchester, shop in The Lanes in Brighton or socialise at Gaydar in London.
“Gay couples are no different from heterosexual couples and yet this policy transforms them into political agitators who have set themselves against the church and community. The policy is divisive, unpopular with the public, is tearing the Conservative Party apart and will influence absolutely no one in terms of the way they vote in the future.”
Despite last week’s heavy Tory losses to the UK Independence Party in the local elections, senior Conservatives, including Foreign Secretary William Hague, have rejected the suggestion that the Conservative Party should change direction on issues such as equal marriage and immigration.