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Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe.jpg
Shadow Home Secretary
In office
13 January 1999 – 18 September 2001
Leader William Hague
Preceded by Sir Norman Fowler
Succeeded by Oliver Letwin
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
In office
24 May 1998 – 13 January 1999
Leader William Hague
Preceded by John Maples
Succeeded by Liam Fox
Minister of State for Prisons
In office
28 February 1995 – 2 May 1997
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Tony Baldry
Succeeded by Office Abolished
Member of Parliament
for Maidstone and The Weald
Maidstone (1987–1997)
In office
11 June 1987 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by John Wells
Succeeded by Helen Grant
Personal details
Born 4 October 1947 (1947-10-04) (age 73)
Bath, Somerset, England
Nationality British
Political party Brexit Party (since 2019)
Conservative (until 2019)
Residence Haytor, Devon
Alma mater University of Birmingham
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford

Ann Noreen Widdecombe MEP (born 4 October 1947 in Bath, Somerset, England) is a British former politician. She was the Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Maidstone and The Weald from 1987 to 2010.

Early life

Widdecombe is the daughter of a Ministry of Defence civil servant James Murray Widdecombe and Rita N Plummer. She attended the Royal Navy School in Singapore, and a convent school in Bath. She then read Latin at Birmingham University and later attended Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). She worked for Unilever (1973–75). She was then an administrator at the University of London (1975–87) before entering Parliament.


She was first elected to the House of Commons at the 1987 General Election. From 1995 to 1997, she was the Minister of State for Prisons. Ann Widdecombe served in William Hague's shadow cabinet from 1997 to 2001. Widdecombe retired from politics at the 2010 general election.

Throughout her political career, Widdecombe was socially conservative and converted from the Church of England to Catholic Church in 1992 after the Church of England voted to allow female priests.

She is a committed animal lover. She is one of the few Conservative MPs to have consistently voted for the ban on fox hunting.

Widdecombe was a contestant in the 2010 series of Strictly Come Dancing. In 2002 she took part in a Louis Theroux television documentary. It showed her life, both in and out of politics. She was cast as herself in an episode of the science-fiction drama Doctor Who.

On 23 April 2012, Widdecombe presented an hour-long documentary for BBC Radio 5 Live. It was Drunk Again: Ann Widdecombe Investigates, looking at how the British attitude to getting drunk has changed over the last few years.


Ann Widdecombe at Edwina Currie's Book Club, Nightingale House, April 2010
  • 2000: The Clematis Tree. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson ISBN: 0-297-64572-2
  • 2002: An Act of Treachery. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson ISBN: 0-297-64573-0
  • 2005: Father Figure. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson ISBN: 0-297-82962-9
  • 2005: An Act of Peace. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson ISBN: 0-297-82958-0


  • 1999: Inspired and Outspoken: the collected speeches of Ann Widdecombe; edited by John Simmons, with a biographical preface by Nick Kochan. London: Politico's Publishing ISBN: 1-902301-22-6
  • 2000: Kochan, Nicholas Ann Widdecombe: right from the beginning. London: Politico's Publishing ISBN: 1-902301-55-2

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