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Wolverhampton Literature Festival review: Ann Widdecombe delights with tales from Parliament to Strictly

By Sarah Cowen-Strong | Wolverhampton | Entertainment | Published:

She’s a former politician, author, Strictly star and, for one a whole season, the dancing partner of Craig Revel Horwood.

Ann recalled her life and career from the House of Commons to the Strictly dancefloor

She went on to appear in pantomime and, despite being tone deaf, was a member of the cast at the Royal Opera House.

And judging from her appearance at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival on Saturday, Ann Widdecombe's warming up for a spot in a comedy club.

WATCH: Highlights from her show

Ann Widdecombe delights her audience during Wolverhampton Literature Festival

From shouting ‘hear, hear’ to compere Jim Duncan’s glowing introduction to confessing she thought it was time to step down from the Commons when she realised she was enjoying Countdown more than Question Time, she’s quite a funny lady - and the audience loved her.

The first half of the show saw her sharing her illuminating post-Parliament days of glitter balls and greasepaint with an air of self-deprecating jocularity.

She recalled Anton Du Beke advising they’d only survive their time on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing if they keep her feet off the floor as much as possible, employing the time-honoured methods of flying, lifting and dragging.

She had no tears, no talk of a ‘journey’ but, instead, turned the other cheek when she was called a ‘dalek in drag; and a ‘dancing hippo’.

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Ann spoke proudly of her books The Clematis Tree, An Act of Treachery and An Act of Peace, still weaving in droll stories and reminding us, whenever possible that copies were available for sale outside.

Of her more colourful later career she explained she seized the opportunity as she was not afraid to lose her gravitas. “What do I want it for” she asked

GALLERY: Pictures from the event

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But flashes did reappear in the later Q&A session where she was forthright and not afraid to be direct.

She was asked if she had ever had any ambitions to become Prime Minister .

“Of course I had ambitions,” she explained. “I would’ve made a terrific Prime Minister, but I didn’t have enough support at Westminster”.

As for a seat in the Lords, she said it just didn’t happen. “Cameron hated me, but I didn’t like him very much either.”

In answers to other questions she concluded Theresa May was the worst Prime Minister since Sir Anthony Eden, Philip Hammond should be the next one and the nation would be bankrupt if Corbyn were in charge.

She seemed to dismiss many concerns about global warming and the glass-ceiling restrictions for women’s success and was a little unkind to blondes.

But let’s remember her humour. She said in all her Q&A sessions she welcomed questions on any subject whatsoever, but there was one that had left her truly stumped.

“Someone said ‘explain to me why anybody would have an affair with John Prescott. I still don’t have the answer to that.”

Sarah Cowen-Strong

By Sarah Cowen-Strong

Journalist with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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