Ann Widdecombe’s views on gay people are just the tip of the iceberg

Brexit Party MEP, Ann Widdecombe, appearing on Sky News

Former Conservative MP and newly elected MEP for the Brexit Party, Ann Widdecombe, has caused uproar after recent comments about homosexuality.

But a brief look at her history shows that gay rights aren’t the only reason to be troubled by her.

Gay conversion therapy?

During an interview on Sky News, Widdecombe was asked about historic comments concerning so-called gay conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is described by the LGBTQI+ rights group, Stonewall, as:

Conversion therapy (or ‘cure’ therapy or reparative therapy) refers to any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity. It is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’. These therapies are both unethical and harmful.

Widdecombe responded in the interview by arguing that:

The fact that we now think it is quite impossible for people to switch sexuality doesn’t mean that science may not yet produce an answer at some stage.

Read on...


The reaction to Widdecombe’s views was universal disgust and mockery. Gay rights campaigner, Stephen Fry, posed this question:

Labour Party staffer, James Mathewson, was less subtle:

Raises questions about the Brexit Party

Others felt Widdecombe’s comments discredited the Brexit Party:

However, disabilities campaigner, Sue Marsh, had words of caution for those who think exposing such views will sink the Brexit Party:

The tip of a large anti-gay iceberg

But Widdecombe’s history of troubling views extends well beyond the latest incident. Widdecombe regularly voted against the expansion of gay rights. And prior to the legalisation of gay marriage by David Cameron, Widdecombe told the Guardian that:

the state must have a preferred model, and the model that has served us throughout the millennia is marriage – a man and a woman in a union that is generally open to procreation. Marriage isn’t about two people; it is the basis for the family.

In 2017, Widdecombe was asked about Liberal Democrat Tim Farron’s views on whether gay sex was a sin. Widdecombe effectively trivialised the issue, responding:

All I can say to that is… there’s a war in Syria, starvation in East Africa, a Brexit negotiation, an economy to get really going, an education system to pick up off the floor and an NHS to sort out and if you’re really worried about homosexuality in the middle of all of that, then I would say, there’s a lack of proportion there somewhere.

“Trivial whinging”

Widdecombe also seems to have a difficult relationship with members of her own sex and feminism.

During an interview on This Morning, she dismissed much of the #MeToo movement as “trivial whinging”. She claimed that the gender pay gap is a “very largely a myth”. She also denounced all women shortlists and quotas aimed at redressing gender imbalances. And she argued that men, not women, are at a disadvantage in the courts. She also defended wolf whistling.

Meanwhile, during the MPs sexual misconduct scandal, she claimed women were “being so wimpish these days wallowing in self-pity” and claimed women didn’t used to be “helpless little snowflakes”.

She also famously quit the church of England and became Catholic, claiming that:

the last straw for me was when the Church of England decided to ordain women priests.

And on it goes…

Widdecombe also described some of the so-called ‘Waspi women’ as “whingers and whiners”. These women were deprived of their pensions after the Coalition government accelerated the planned rise of the pension age to 65 with the 2011 Pensions Act.

And during her time as Conservative prisons minister in 1996, Widdecombe defended the practice of shackling pregnant prisoners when in hospital. She’s also previously expressed her opposition to abortion.

Other dubious views

The above is just a taste of her record. She voted against measures to stop climate change as an MP. In 2014 she wrote supporting climate emergency denial and in 2009 was reported to have said:

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

A Green Party candidate in the recent EU elections shared his experience with her on the issue:

Elsewhere, she’s expressed support for private healthcare. And as recently as 2016 wrote in support of the death penalty, contradicting the pope.

Although Widdecombe did famously support the banning of fox hunting during a parliamentary speech in 1997, so that’s one tick at least.

A scary record

Widdecombe really is the full package. The Brexit Party may hope that the public solely focuses on its Brexit approach. But the public has a right to know the politics of their candidates. And if Widdecombe is anything to go by, they’re truly terrifying.

Featured image via Sky News/YouTube

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Ann Whitless will be disappointed to learn that God’s punishment to gay people (aids) is about to become removed from the incurable disease list.

      She will have to spend agonising hours dreaming up a similar spiritual punishment for those persons who’s gendre got mixed up in the DNA cooking pot prior to birth.

      Still, she is a living example of a person who is able to function without a drop of compassion or a brain year after year uttering offensive nonsense all the while.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.