The former MP for Maidstone, Ann Widdecombe is an author, writer, broadcaster and outstanding speaker who is also extremely well known for her many TV appearances and strong.
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Ann Widdecombe was born in October 1947 and was educated at the Royal Naval School – Singapore, La Sainte Union Convent – Bath, Birmingham University and Lady Margaret Hall – Oxford. She has Honours Degrees in Latin and in Politics and Economics, and has an MA from Oxford University.
Miss Widdecombe published her first novel ‘The Clematis Tree’ in April 2000 which became number eight in the Times Best Seller List. Since then she has written; ‘An Act of Treachery’ (2002), ‘Father Figure’ (2005) and ‘An Act of Peace’ (2005) and many others.
She has enjoyed participating in various television programmes including her own prime time television show on BBC2, ‘Ann Widdecombe to the Rescue’. In this Miss Widdecombe acted as an agony aunt travelling around the country offering advice for a variety of problems within families. As well as this, she has participated in ‘Call My Bluff’, ‘Celebrity Scrabble’, ‘Countdown – Dictionary Corner’, ‘Grumpy Old Women’, ‘Parkinson’, ‘The Wright Stuff’, ‘Celebrity Fit Club’ and ‘Nothing But the Truth’.
She has also contributed to many other programmes on a wide range of subjects including travel, politics and religion. Ann has also appeared as a guest presenter on television in place of Richard Littlejohn and on radio in place of Nick Ferrari.
As well as television and radio Miss Widdecombe has built up a strong reputation in the print media mainly as a columnist for several newspapers. She is currently a weekly columnist for the Daily Express. Other newspapers she has worked with are the Catholic Times (1994-96) and The Guardian as an agony aunt (2004). She has also contributed to various publications regarding travel, politics and religion.
Miss Widdecombe is also widely known for her political career. From 1976 to 1978 she was a Runnymede District Councillor. She contested Burnley at the 1979 General Election and fought Dr David Owen at Devonport in 1983 before being selected to succeed Sir John Wells as the Member for Maidstone. Miss Widdecombe was elected Member of Parliament for Maidstone at the 1987 General Election.
Between 1990 and 1994 Miss Widdecombe was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Social Security and then Employment. She was Minister of State at the Department of Employment from July 1994 until July 1995 when she was appointed Minister of State at the Home Office, a position she held until 1997. In May 1997 she was elected Member of Parliament for the new seat of Maidstone and The Weald with a majority of 9603. In July 1997 she was appointed to the Standards and Privileges House of Commons Select Committee.
Ann Widdecombe was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Health in June 1998 and on 9th June 1999 she was appointed Shadow Home Secretary.
In July 2001 she announced her decision to retire from the Shadow Cabinet, citing the wish to be able to speak on issues which she felt strongly about without the constraints which being a Front Bencher necessarily imposes. Another major factor in Ann Widdecombe’s decision was the desire to spend more time with her elderly mother as well as to devote more time to her writing career. Miss Widdecombe appeared in 2010’s ‘Strictly Coming Dancing’, making it to the quarter finals despite having the most consistently low scores in ‘Strictly’ history! She also took part in the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ tour in which she was partnered by her harshest critic, Craig Revel Horwood.