Conservative MP Brooks Newmark has been criticised for meeting a reality television star while he was supposed to be at a constituency event.
The Jewish politician, who represents the Essex constituency of Braintree, was accompanied by his daughter when he went for a drink with Made in Chelsea's Francis Boulle.
But he met the star on the evening of July 14 – despite having apparently said he could not attend a constituency meeting on the future of the local postal depot because he had to be at Westminster.
A statement was read on his behalf at the meeting, but his Westminster business turned out to be having a drink with Mr Boulle, a diamond mining heir. Mr Newmark made no secret of his showbiz tête-à-tête, posting several photographs from the evening on his Twitter page.
According to the Telegraph his behaviour was dubbed disgraceful by Steve Knight of the Halstead postal museum. The Halstead mayor expressed disappointment because it would have been "appropriate" for the MP to attend.
But Mr Newmark’s office said that he was absent from the Halstead meeting because as a whip he was required to be in Westminster when the house was sitting. They added that as well as the statement, Mr Newmark met a Royal mail representative in parliament to discuss the matter and also wrote to the Royal Mail chief executive.
Mr Newmark, who has been an MP since 2005 and enjoys a 16,121 majority, was appointed a Government Whip to the Business Department last year.
The Telegraph said the MP's daughter was an avid fan of the programme, but did not reveal Mr Newmark's thoughts on The Only Way is Essex, a similar series set closer to home.