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Ann Noreen Widdecombe (born 4 October 1947) is a British politician, author and television personality. She served as the Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Maidstone from 1987 to 1997 and for Maidstone and The Weald from 1997 to 2010. She also served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South West England for the Brexit Party from 2019 to 2020.
Born in Bath, Somerset, Widdecombe read Latin at the University of Birmingham and later studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She is a convert from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism and was a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship. She served as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department from 1995 to 1997 and Shadow Home Secretary from 1999 to 2001. Widdecombe was appointed as a Privy Councillor in 1997.
Ideologically, Widdecombe identifies herself as social conservative and stresses the importance of traditional values and conservatism. As a member of the House of Commons, she was known for opposing the legality of abortion, her opposition to various issues of LGBT rights such as an equal age of consent and the repeal of Section 28, her support for the re-introduction of the death penalty and her opposition to fox hunting.
She retired from politics at the 2010 general election. Since 2002, she has also made numerous television and radio appearances, including as a television presenter. A prominent Eurosceptic, in 2016 she supported the Vote Leave campaign to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union. Widdecombe returned to politics as the lead candidate for the Brexit Party in South West England at the 2019 European Parliament election and subsequently won her seat, serving until the United Kingdom officially left the EU on 31 January 2020.