Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

MEPs launch eject Kilroy campaign

By Chris Mason
BBC News, Brussels

Robert Kilroy Silk
Mr Kilroy Silk had hoped to be crowned "king of the jungle"

Just days after becoming the first person to be kicked out of ITV's reality show I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Euro MP Robert Kilroy Silk is facing a petition calling for him to be kicked out of the European Parliament as well.

It would appear that after facing the worst the Australian jungle could throw at him - including rats and sandworms - now the former talk show host faces an uncomfortable return to the political jungle.

An online petition, kilroystepdown, campaigning for his removal from the Parliament has been set up and signed by all the other MEPs from the region he represents - the East Midlands.

As one of those MEPs here in Brussels quipped to me, it is probably the first and last time members representing Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the UK Independence Party will all unanimously agree on anything.

On the site, the MEPs say Robert Kilroy Silk "last spoke in Parliament in October 2005, denying East Midlands electors a voice."

They also claim "he has not been seen in the region since his failed attempt to be elected as the MP for Erewash in Derbyshire in the 2005 general election".

The petition illustrates the growing anger and irritation here that whilst other MEPs were busy scrutinising legislation, sitting on committees and - in short - carrying on with their often unglamorous work, Mr Kilroy Silk was on a primetime TV show with an audience of millions, just six months before elections to the European Parliament in June.

Politically valid

They say he is rarely seen either in Brussels or in the constituency - but all the publicity surrounding 'I'm A Celebrity' might not do his re-election chances any harm - if he does stand again at the European elections in 2009.

Derek Clark is a UK Independence Party MEP for the East Midlands. Robert Kilroy Silk's behaviour is doubly annoying for him.

The former TV presenter was elected as a UKIP MEP in 2004 - but left the party shortly afterwards to found his own Eurosceptic party, Veritas. Six months later he gave up as leader of the fringe party - and now sits as an Independent.

"We think he should resign altogether and give the seat back to us," Mr Clark told the BBC.

"This chap has taken himself out altogether. ITV won't let him communicate with anyone in the outside world at just the time he has a job to do. He is being paid and he is not doing his job, simple as that."

Before going into the jungle Robert Kilroy Silk passionately defended his decision to go on the show. He insisted he had not taken a holiday this year - and while colleagues were away in July and August, he was working every day, tabling parliamentary questions and dealing with his constituents' problems.

His supporters also say that there is a political validity to appearing on mass market TV shows as it helps voters get to know their politicians better - meaning they are perhaps more inclined to listen to their political arguments in the future.

The BBC has contacted his agent to get Mr Kilroy Silk's reaction to the petition set up by his parliamentary colleagues. So far, there hasn't been a response.

It is unknown whether he will stand for re-election to the European Parliament next June.

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