By Alex Stevenson
Public anger over MP Nadine Dorries' reality TV adventure on I'm A Celebrity has not prompted the coalition to accelerate its moves to introduce a recall law for MPs.
Aides close to Nick Clegg confirmed the draft legislation consulted on earlier this year remains stuck on the back shelf, after the government's proposals were lambasted by critics for being too weak.
Clegg repeated his condemnation of Dorries, who flew off to the Australian jungle without the permission of either her constituents or her party, in the Commons today.
"Of course it's unwise," he said. "We're all elected to do a job for our constituents. That's what people quite rightly expect of us. It's no wonder people have been so unhappy about the decision of one member of this House to eat insects in the jungle instead."
Over three-quarters of the British public think Dorries was wrong to go on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, pollster YouGov found shortly after her exit down under from Westminster.
Conservative chief whip Sir George Young has temporarily suspended her from the parliamentary party, pending her return.
Lib Dem backbencher Lorely Burt led calls from the government backbenches for the government to reconsider its proposals quickly, urging: "Shouldn't a popular vote provide a chance to get them out of there?"
But Clegg said that the "devil is in the detail" and that the government was "not taking time to reflect on the [political and constitutional reform] committee's findings."
The coalition's original plans were to trigger a by-election only if ten per cent of the electorate signed a petition calling for it. That petition would itself only be made available to voters if the MP was sentenced to less than 12 months in prison, or the move was recommended by the Commons' standards and privileges committee.
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By Alex Stevenson
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