75 Facts About Ann Widdecombe


Ann Noreen Widdecombe was born on 4 October 1947 and is a British politician and television personality.


Ann Widdecombe was Member of Parliament for Maidstone and The Weald, and the former Maidstone constituency, from 1987 to 2010 and Member of the European Parliament for South West England from 2019 to 2020.


Ann Widdecombe is a religious convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, and was a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.


Ann Widdecombe served as Minister of State for Employment from 1994 to 1995 and Minister of State for Prisons from 1995 to 1997.


Ann Widdecombe later served in the Shadow Cabinet of William Hague as Shadow Secretary of State for Health from 1998 to 1999 and Shadow Home Secretary from 1999 to 2001.


Ann Widdecombe was appointed to the Privy Council in 1997.


Ann Widdecombe stood down from the House of Commons at the 2010 general election.


Ann Widdecombe returned to politics as the lead candidate for the Brexit Party in South West England at the 2019 European Parliament election, winning the seat in line with results nationally, serving until the country left the EU on 31 January 2020.


Ideologically, Ann Widdecombe identifies herself as a social conservative and stresses the importance of traditional values and conservatism.


Ann Widdecombe supported reintroduction of the death penalty for murder, though more narrowly applied than previously.


Ann Widdecombe has a history of supporting rigorous laws on animal protection and opposition to fox hunting.


Ann Widdecombe's maternal grandfather, James Henry Plummer, was born to a Catholic family of English descent in Crosshaven, County Cork, Ireland in 1874.


Ann Widdecombe attended the Royal Naval School in Singapore, and La Sainte Union Convent School in Bath.


Ann Widdecombe then read Latin at the University of Birmingham and later attended Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, to read philosophy, politics and economics.


Ann Widdecombe worked for Unilever and then as an administrator at the University of London before entering Parliament.


In 1974, Ann Widdecombe was personal assistant to Michael Ancram in the February and October general elections of that year.


From 1976 to 1978, Ann Widdecombe was a councillor on Runnymede District Council in Surrey.


Ann Widdecombe contested the seat of Burnley in Lancashire in the 1979 general election and then, against David Owen, the Plymouth Devonport seat in the 1983 general election.


Ann Widdecombe was first elected to the House of Commons, for the Conservatives, in the 1987 general election as member for the constituency of Maidstone.


Ann Widdecombe joined Prime Minister John Major's government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security in 1990.


Ann Widdecombe told the Commons that the restrictions were needed to prevent prisoners from escaping the hospital.


In May 1997, in the context of an inquiry into a series of prison escapes, Ann Widdecombe remarked of former Home Secretary Michael Howard, under whom she had served, that there is "something of the night" about him.


Ann Widdecombe first supported Michael Ancram, who was eliminated in the first round, and then Kenneth Clarke, who lost in the final round.


In 2001, when Michael Portillo was running for leader of the Conservative Party, Ann Widdecombe described him and his allies as "backbiters" due to his alleged destabilising influence under Hague.


Ann Widdecombe went on to say that, should he be appointed leader, she would never give him her allegiance.


Ann Widdecombe expressed reservations over the eventual winner David Cameron, feeling that he did not, like the other candidates, have a proven track record, and she was later a leading figure in parliamentary opposition to his A-List policy.


Ann Widdecombe confirmed her intention to stand down to The Observer's Pendennis diary in September 2007, and again in October 2007 after Prime Minister Gordon Brown quashed speculation of an autumn 2007 general election.


In 2007 Ann Widdecombe was one of the 98 MPs who voted to keep their expense details secret.


In May 2009, following the resignation of Michael Martin as Speaker of the House of Commons, it was reported that Ann Widdecombe was gathering support for election as interim Speaker until the next general election.


Ann Widdecombe since spoke about her opposition to the Coalition Government and her surprise at not being given a peerage by David Cameron.


Ann Widdecombe was expelled by the Conservative Party immediately after her announcement.


Ann Widdecombe had considered joining the Brexit Party in March 2019, but joined later, in May.


Ann Widdecombe said that her decision to stand resulted from the Government's failure to deliver Britain's departure from the EU on schedule.


Ann Widdecombe became a member of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.


Ann Widdecombe converted from the Church of England to the Roman Catholic Church following the CoE decision to ordinate women as priests.


Ann Widdecombe notably spoke of her support for its reintroduction for the worst cases of murder in the aftermath of the murder of two 10-year-old girls from Soham, Cambridgeshire, in August 2002, arguing that in the five years up to 1970 when the death penalty was suspended, the national murder rate had more than doubled.


Ann Widdecombe is a committed animal lover and one of the several Conservative MPs to have consistently voted for the ban on the hunting of foxes.


Ann Widdecombe was among more than 20 high-profile people who signed a letter to Members of Parliament in 2015 to oppose David Cameron's plan to amend the Hunting Act 2004.


Ann Widdecombe supported the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 in England and Wales.


Out of the 17 parliamentary votes between 1998 and 2008 considered by the Public Whip website to concern equal rights for homosexuals, Ann Widdecombe took the opposing position in 15 cases, not being present at the other two votes.


Ann Widdecombe has consistently argued against an equal age of consent for same-sex relationships, voting against a 1994 act, and in 1998.


In 2012, Ann Widdecombe voiced support in the Daily Express for the practise of conversion therapy, which claims to change the orientation of homosexuals.


Ann Widdecombe has expressed her opposition to same-sex marriage, introduced by David Cameron's government in 2014, arguing that "the state must have a preferred model" which is "a union that is generally open to procreation".


In 2019 Ann Widdecombe defended the comments she made in a 2012 article that supported "gay conversion" therapy.


Ann Widdecombe appeared three times between August 2017 and April 2019 and was described as an "old friend of the show" by the host during one appearance.


Ann Widdecombe told Jewish Chronicle that she agreed to appear to discuss Brexit, and that she "had never heard of the Richie Allen Show until I agreed to go on" and distanced herself from its antisemitic content by, among other things, pointing to her membership of the Conservative Friends of Israel, B'nai B'rith event speeches, and her novel An Act of Treachery, which she said is set during the Holocaust.


Ann Widdecombe was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the Brexit Party on 23 May 2019 in the European elections.


Ann Widdecombe was the guest host of news quiz Have I Got News for You twice, in 2006 and 2007.


Merton later revealed that he thought Ann Widdecombe had been "the worst ever presenter" of the show, particularly on her second appearance where Merton claimed she "thought she was Victoria Wood".


In 2009, Ann Widdecombe appeared with Archbishop John Onaiyekan in an "Intelligence Squared" debate in which they defended the motion that the Catholic Church was a force for good.


In 2011 Ann Widdecombe played the Lord Mayoress in an episode of Sooty.


In 2012, Widdecombe hosted the 30 one-hour episodes of Cleverdicks, a quiz show for the Sky Atlantic channel.


Ann Widdecombe was in a Strictly Come Dancing special in Children in Need's 2012 appeal night.


On 4 November 2012, Ann Widdecombe guest-hosted one episode of BBC's Songs of Praise programme about singleness.


Ann Widdecombe took part in a four-part BBC One television series 24 Hours in the Past, along with Colin Jackson, Alistair McGowan, Miquita Oliver, Tyger Drew-Honey and Zoe Lucker in April and May 2015, involving experiencing life as workers in a dustyard, coachhouse, pottery, and as workhouse inmates in 1840s Britain.


Ann Widdecombe took part in an episode of Tipping Point: Lucky Stars in 2016.


In 2017, Ann Widdecombe took part in ITV's Sugar Free Farm.


In January 2018, Ann Widdecombe participated in the Celebrity Big Brother twenty-first series; she was criticised over her comments regarding the Harvey Weinstein controversy and comments perceived to be anti-LGBT to her fellow housemates, most notably to drag queen Courtney Act.


Ann Widdecombe finished the competition in second place, behind Jenek.


In 2019 Ann Widdecombe appeared on the new celebrity version of The Crystal Maze, where alongside Sunetra Sarker, Wes Nelson, Matthew Wright and Nikki Sanderson, she won money for Stand Up to Cancer.


In 2020 Ann Widdecombe travelled to Norway for three days to visit Halden Prison, for the documentary, of The World's Most Luxurious Prison.


Ann Widdecombe reprised her pantomime performance, again with Horwood, at the Swan Theatre, High Wycombe in December 2012.


Ann Widdecombe stepped in at short notice to play the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812, at Bridlington Spa in December 2016.


In December 2017 Ann Widdecombe played the Empress of China in the pantomime Aladdin at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft.


Ann Widdecombe sold both upon retiring at the next general election.


Ann Widdecombe shared her home in London with her widowed mother, Rita Widdecombe, until Rita's death, on 25 April 2007, aged 95.


Ann Widdecombe's brother, Malcolm, who was an Anglican canon in Bristol, retired in May 2009 and died in October 2010.


Ann Widdecombe has a fondness for cats and many other animals such as foxes; a section of her website, the Widdyweb, is about the pet cats she has lived with.


Ann Widdecombe adopted two goats at the Buttercups Goat Sanctuary in Boughton Monchelsea near Maidstone.


In January 2011 Ann Widdecombe was President of the North of England Education Conference in Blackpool, and gave a speech there supporting selective education and opposing the ban on new grammar schools being built.


Ann Widdecombe is a Patron of the charity Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land and in 2014 visited the SHADH Donkey Sanctuary in the West Bank.


Ann Widdecombe became an Anglican in her 30s, after a period of being an agnostic following her departure from religious schooling.


Ann Widdecombe converted to Catholicism in 1993 after leaving the Church of England, explaining to reporters from the New Statesman:.


In 2010, Ann Widdecombe turned down the offer to be Britain's next ambassador to the Holy See, being prevented from accepting by suffering a detached retina.


Ann Widdecombe was made a Dame of the Order of St Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict XVI for services to politics and public life on 31 January 2013.