A weekly newspaper in Bedfordshire has scooped the national press to land an interview with ‘I’m a celebrity’ MP Nadine Dorries.
The politician, dubbed ‘Mad Nad’ by her critics, was suspended from the Tory Party this week after announcing she was abandoning her MP’s duties for a month to take part in the latest series of ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here.’
Before leaving for the Australian jungle earlier this week the Mid Beds MP gave her only interview to the Bedford Times & Citizen.
In the interview, which was published in this week’s edition yesterday, she gave her reasons for taking part in the programme and how she thought her constituents would react.
“It occurred to me that more people watch the X-Factor final than voted in the general election and I think as a politician it would be arrogant of me to expect people to look into Westminster to see what I am doing,” she told the paper.
“I see this as an opportunity to show that some MPs are just ordinary mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. Some of us come from ordinary backgrounds and have the same values as everyone else.”
Times & Citizen reporter Hayley O’Keefe landed the interview after a recent trip to Parliament in support of the paper’s petrol prices campaign.
She said: “During the meeting she told me she was going abroad in November but to keep it a secret, and forget about what she’d said until nearer the time. I put two and two together and texted Nadine a few weeks ago – and she gave me the exclusive interview!”
Added Hayley: “Nadine and I have differing political views, but as a journalist that doesn’t matter, I was just there to tell the story. I’m really glad that she trusted me and I’m so excited to get the scoop everyone has wanted all week.
“Part of the embargo agreement was that I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone in my office about it, only my editor knew. It’s been a nightmare as we always discuss exciting stories in the newsroom but I think it was worth it in the long run.”
Editor Jim Stewart said: “This story comes down to having a good journalist who was able to build up trust with a key contact by being trustworthy and honest.
“There were plenty of other newspapers, including the nationals, who Nadine could have gone to with this exclusive interview. But she knew that the Times & Citizen – and Hayley specifically – could be trusted to give her a fair hearing.
“The Times & Citizen is here to give both sides of every story, and we’ve already had plenty of feedback. We’ve also not shied away from the controversy around Nadine going into the jungle, and we’ve spoken to her local constituency party for their reaction too.
“What people know is that if they want the full story, told properly, they can trust the Times & Citizen.”