UK Politics

MP Penny Mordaunt to take part in TV diving show

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Media captionSplash MP Penny Mordaunt: "I am not wearing a bikini, so let me dispel that"

A Conservative MP is to take part in the ITV show Splash! in which contestants dive from a board under the gaze of Olympian Tom Daley.

Penny Mordaunt, who follows George Galloway and Nadine Dorries from Parliament to reality TV, is donating her fee to charity.

The MP for Portsmouth North described herself as having the "diving prowess of a paving slab".

But the show would be a "great personal development experience", she added.

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Image caption Wherever I lay my trunks: Singer Paul Young will take to the board

Miss Mordaunt, who is parliamentary private secretary to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, will compete with comedian Patrick Monahan and The Only Way Is Essex star Dan Osbourne on 18 January.

Also taking part in the episode are veteran singer Paul Young and model Danielle Lloyd.

Miss Mordaunt, a Royal Navy reservist, said: "Not only is Splash! a great personal development experience but it also seemed like the perfect way to fundraise for a charity I'm very passionate about - the Hilsea Lido in Portsmouth which is being renovated by the community.

"I will be donating my fee for the programme to assist with the renovations and will be also fundraising for them and four armed forces charities.

"I have the elegance and diving prowess of a paving slab, but my Navy training has certainly given me the guts to take on the challenge head-on.

"I don't know what the outcome of the live dive will be, except that entertainment is guaranteed."

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Image caption Penny Mordaunt has a hard act to follow in Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards

Miss Mordaunt, who once worked as a magician's assistant, added on Twitter that while Splash! was "scary" the "dunk tank" used in her naval training had been "worse".

She was criticised by John Ferrett, leader of Portsmouth City Council's Labour group, for "training for a celebrity gameshow" while workers were "rallying" to save 900 jobs following BAE's decision to stop shipbuilding in the city.

He called the decision "appalling", writing on Twitter: "Whilst workers worrying about keeping jobs & homes she's been promoting minor celebrity status."

Miss Mordaunt responded: "MPs do have to do more than one thing at once, and training for Splash has not compromised my efforts campaigning on a large number of issues, including the shipyard.

"I made it clear from the start that training would be done in my own time, and that my fee would be going to charity."

Miss Mordaunt is not the first MP to take part in a reality TV show.

Respect's George Galloway caused some ripples of his own in 2006 when he pretended to be a cat licking milk from a saucer as one of his tasks on Celebrity Big Brother.

Liberal Democrat Julia Goldsworthy was a contestant on the Channel 4 sports show The Games in the same year.

And Miss Mordaunt's fellow Conservative Nadine Dorries was suspended from the party in 2012 for going on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, which clashed with parliamentary business.

Miss Mordaunt's appearance will take place on a Saturday, when the House of Commons does not sit.

Splash! was won last year by former Olympic ski jumper Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards.