Ann is a British Conservative Party politician, documentary-maker, broadcaster and novelist. She is well-known for happily voicing her outspoken views on controversial issues, and is fiercely anti-abortion and pro-capital punishment.
Ann's political career began as a District Councillor in Runnymede from 1976-8. She fought two seats unsuccessfully in the General Elections of 1979 and 1983 before winning the seat of Maidstone in June 1987 - a seat she kept until 2010, when she chose not to stand for re-election.
She joined John Major's government in November 1990 as Under-Secretary of State for Social Security (specialising in Pensions). She became Minister of State for Employment in 1994, and then Minister of State at the Home Office in 1995 with responsibility for prisons and immigration. She famously described her boss Michael Howard as having "something of the night about him".
When Labour came to power in 1997, Ann served as Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary before standing down from the front bench.
She's steadfast in her views, including being opposed to fox hunting, and in 2009 she stated "there is no climate change". However, in the recent expenses scandal, Ann was described by the Daily Telegraph as one of the 'saints' amongst all of the MPs.
Ann's varied media career has included two stints on ITV's Celebrity Fit Club (as contestant and then as mentor), a Louis Theroux documentary, and two turns in the hosting chair of Have I Got News For You. She presented Ann Widdecombe Versus... for ITV1 and has made three religious documentaries for Channel 4 and the BBC.
Ann was born in Bath, Somerset. Her father was Head of Naval Supplies & Transport for the Ministry of Defence. Consequently the family moved around a lot, and Ann spent three years of her childhood in Singapore.
She was educated at the Royal Naval School in Singapore, Bath Convent, Birmingham University (where she read Latin) and Oxford University (where she read Politics, Philosophy and Economics).
Ann adopted two goats (Megan and Bruce) at one of her favourite charities, Buttercups Goat Sanctuary in Maidstone. She visits whenever she can. She's also a patron of a donkey sanctuary in Israel. She's a confirmed cat lover.
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Ann Widdecombe will be dancing with Anton Du Beke.