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Ann Widdecombe at Suburb school

PUBLISHED: 13:00 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:53 07 September 2010

Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe

ANN WIDDECOMBE is famous for her forthright, fiercely outspoken views and on a visit to Hampstead Garden Suburb, the former prisons secretary didn t fail to live up to her reputation, writes Charlotte Newton. The 62-year-old Tory MP visited Henrietta Barn

ANN WIDDECOMBE is famous for her forthright, fiercely outspoken views and on a visit to Hampstead Garden Suburb, the former prisons secretary didn't fail to live up to her reputation, writes Charlotte Newton.

The 62-year-old Tory MP visited Henrietta Barnett School last Thursday as the guest speaker of the school's literary society evening.

Though the event was not intended to be a political one - focusing on the beginning of her burgeoning literary career - soon Ms Widdecombe, MP for Maidstone and The Weald since 1987, had to address issues in the election.

Talking about her own retirement she said: "You get straws in the wind that tell you it's time to go. I prefer the whimsy of Countdown to the "Bash Bash" of Question Time.

"I prefer Aled Jones of Songs of Praise to Dimbleby and Paxman. I prefer the countryside to the metropolis. This is the time to call it a day."

Ms Widdecombe told the packed school hall she thought David Cameron would lead the Tories to victory in May, but it would be a narrow win similar to that which thwarted John Major's leadership.

When asked whether a hung Parliament would be the result, Ms Widdecombe said: "I don't believe that will happen. Please don't think a hung parliament is a good thing. The opposition spends their time trying to bring down the government and wheeling and dealing bargains.

"What will happen is that we'll have the same situation as during the Major government - where you have a narrow majority."

She expressed concern at the inexperience of many of the politicians who will be entering the House of Commons for the first time in May. In particular, she is opposed to shortlists.

"I'm against all women shortlists," she said. "These candidates have no political experience. They are a generation of Twitterers and I think it's going to be extremely difficult.

"I regret what has been a trend of making the wife of Prime Minister the first lady. We've got a first lady, she's called the Queen. I think this first lady contest between the wives is completely unnecessary."

Would she enter the House of Lords if David Cameron offered her a peerage?

"If I was offered a peerage yes of course I'd accept but there is no suggestion that David Cameron is going to make such an offer. I'm not exactly one of his cuties am I?" she added.


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