Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe

Credentials

  • B.A. Latin, University of Birmingham. [1]
  • B.A. Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), University of Oxford. [2]

Background

Ann Widdecombe is a former Conservative minister and MEP candidate in the South West of England for the newly-created Brexit Party, led by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. [3]

Widdecombe is well known for her hard-line socially conservative views, including opposition to abortion and LGBT rights, as well as support for the death penalty. [4]

Widdecombe has a history of casting doubt on climate science and opposing policies to reduce emissions. Along with fellow Conservatives Peter Lilley, Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, and Andrew Tyrie, she was one of only five MPs to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. [5]

Six years after the bill passed into law, Widdecombe wrote that she ”credited former UK chancellor Nigel Lawson, founder of the climate denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, with convincing her that the “doom mongers” were wrong. In the same article, she compared the rejection of climate science denial to book-burning in Nazi Germany. [6]

Numerous other Brexit Party candidates similarly reject the consensus on climate change or oppose policies to tackle it, as DeSmog has previously reported. [7]

Widdecombe ran unsuccessfully for parliament in both the 1979 and 1983 general elections, before being elected as MP for Maidstone in 1987. She remained MP of the constituency, which became Maidstone and The Weald in 1997, until 2010. [8], [9], [10]

During the 1990s, Widdecombe held the following junior positions under Prime Minister John Major and subsequently opposition leader William Hague: Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Social Security; Parliamentary Under-Secretary and Minister of State at the Department of Employment; Minister of State at the Home Office; Shadow Health Secretary; Shadow Home Secretary. [10]

In her final year in parliament, Widdecombe voted to support a motion supporting homeopathy, criticising the Science and Technology Committee's Report on the subject. [11]

Before entering politics, Widdecombe worked in marketing at Unilever from 1973 to 1975 and was Senior Administrator at London University from 1975 to 1987, according to her website. [12]

While a student at Oxford, Widdecombe served as Secretary and Treasurer of The Oxford Union debating society and was a Committee Member of the Oxford University Conservative Association. [12]

Since retiring as an MP, Widdecombe has stayed in the spotlight with appearances on a number of TV shows, including Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Big Brother.

Stance on Climate Change

October 29, 2014

In an article for the Daily Express entitled “'Fighting the nonsense': The climate change rebels were spot on,” Widdecombe wrote: [6]

Meanwhile the science of climate change is robustly disputed where once it was regarded as having all the authority of Holy Writ. So much was this the case that Nigel Lawson, whose book An Appeal To Reason is still the best refutation of the doom mongers, found it difficult to get published. In 1930s Germany they burned books that challenged state orthodoxy: here we just try to bury them.” [6]

Key Quotes

October 29, 2014

In an Op Ed article at the Express, Whiddecombe criticised wind power: [6]

We have shunned the obvious answer of nuclear power in favour of vast, ugly, inefficient, bird-mashing wind farms which benefit none but those who take the subsidies from them,” she wrote. [6]

January 12, 2009

In a 2009 Daily Express articled entitled “Now the EU wants to ban your plasma television,” reporting on plans by the European Union to introduce minimum energy standards for televisions, Widdecombe said: [13]

We have already got the situation of being compelled to have ‘green’ light bulbs with poisonous mercury in them. First it was the light bulbs and now they are after plasma screen TVs.

There is no climate change, hasn’t anybody looked out of their window recently?” [13]

Key Deeds

April 24, 2019

Widdecombe announced she would be standing in the May European elections as a South West of England candidate for the newly-created Brexit Party, led by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. [3]

October 29, 2014

Widdecombe wrote an article for the Daily Express saying that she was proud to have been one of the “rebels” who voted against the UK’s Climate Change Act. She credited former UK chancellor Nigel Lawson, founder of the climate denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, with convincing her that the “doom mongers” were wrong. In the same article, she compared the rejection of climate science denial to book-burning in Nazi Germany. [6]

May 6, 2010

Widdecombe retired from parliament, choosing not to run in the 2010 general election. [10]

October 28, 2008

Along with fellow Conservatives Peter Lilley, Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, and Andrew Tyrie, Widdecombe was one of only five MPs to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. [5]

Affiliations

Social Media

Ann Widdecombe does not appear to be active on social media.

Publications

Ann Widdecombe is a regular columnist for the Daily Express.

Resources

  1. Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe,” University of Birmingham. Archived February 11, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  2. Prominent Alumni,” Lady Margaret Hall. Archived April 24, 2016. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/62M2t

  3. Ann Widdecombe: Former Tory MP to stand for Brexit Party,” BBC News, April 24, 2019. Archived May 20, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/EJy3v

  4. Maya Oppenheim. “Ann Widdecombe attacks Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for supporting LGBT+ rights,” The Independent, April 26, 2018. Archived May 20, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/hVuBS

  5. Climate Change Bill — Third Reading (and other amendments) — 28 Oct 2008,” The Public Whip. Archived May 20, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/HZ1Td

  6. 'Fighting the nonsense' The climate change rebels were spot on,” Daily Express, October 29, 2014. Archived May 20, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/tPYBu

  7. Richard Collett-White, Chloe Farand, Mat Hope. “Meet The Brexit Party's Climate Science Deniers,” DeSmog, May 1, 2019.

  8. UK General Election results May 1979,” Keele University. Archived September 25, 2006. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/85KGp

  9. UK General Election results June 1983,” Keele University. Archived March 20, 2008. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/1ZLhs

  10. Miss Ann Widdecombe,” Parliament.uk. Archived May 20, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Zxglb

  11. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE REPORT ON HOMEOPATHY,” Parliament.uk, February 23, 2010. Archived May 20, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/6xalG

  12. About Ann,” Ann Widdcombe. Archived May 20, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/YVOct

  13. Now the EU wants to ban your plasma television,” Daily Express, January 12, 2009. Archived May 20, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/p20uv

Other Resources

Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales)/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0