Nadine Dorries’s constituents are not being properly represented, the prime minister has said.
Rishi Sunak told LBC people deserved to have an MP “that represents them wherever they are”.
The former culture secretary announced in June she was standing down as MP for Mid Bedfordshire with immediate effect.
But she later said she would not resign until she got more information about why she was denied a peerage in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.
Ms Dorries, whose salary as an MP is £86,584, has not spoken in the Commons since June 2022.
“It’s just making sure your MP is engaging with you, representing you, whether that’s speaking in Parliament or being present in their constituencies doing surgeries, answering your letters.
“That’s the job of an MP and all MPs should be held to that standard.”
Asked if that meant Ms Dorries was failing her constituents, Mr Sunak said: “Well, at the moment, people aren’t being properly represented.”
A close ally of Mr Johnson, she has accused Mr Sunak’s political team of removing her name from the former prime minister’s resignation honours list. She said she had requested copies of all correspondence relating to her nomination for the Lords.
Ms Dorries has said she is seeking the information from the House of Lords Appointments Commission – which vets nominations, the cabinet secretary – the head of the civil service – and the Cabinet Office.
She has insisted it remains “absolutely my intention to resign”, but “this process is now sadly necessary”.
Her “office continues to function as normal and will of course continue to serve my constituents,” she added.
‘Nowhere to be seen’
Responding to Mr Sunak’s comments, Labour frontbencher Peter Kyle called on the prime minister to “should show some leadership and tell Nadine Dorries to step aside”.
Mr Sunak was again showing “he’s too weak to lead a Conservative Party which is too divided to govern the country”, Mr Kyle added.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper MP said: “When your own prime minister says you aren’t doing your job properly, it really is time to go.
“People in Mid Bedfordshire feel completely taken for granted by Nadine Dorries.
“Families are facing soaring bills and are finding it almost impossible to get a GP appointment, while this government is wrapped up in sleaze and the Conservative MP is nowhere to be seen.”
Downing Street has said it is important for Ms Dorries’ constituents to have “certainty”. But Mr Sunak can not force her to stand down from Parliament, outside a general election, although he could suspend her from the Conservative Party.
She had a majority of 24,664 in Mid Bedfordshire in the 2019 general election, but both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are already targeting the seat. A by-election can be called only when an MP formally resigns.
Labour has selected Alistair Strathern as its candidate, with Emma Holland-Lindsay chosen to stand for the Lib Dems and Festus Akinbusoye lined up for the Conservatives.
With Parliament currently in recess and not sitting again until September, the earliest a by-election could be held – if Ms Dorries quits – is in October.
Last week, Flitwick Town Council, in her constituency, added its voice to calls for her to go immediately, pointing to her job hosting a show on TalkTV.
The councillors also noted she had not maintained a constituency office “for a considerable time”.
Ms Dorries has also written a book titled The Plot: The Political Assassination Of Boris Johnson, due to be published days before the Conservative Party conference in October.