From Parliament to the Dance Floor – Anne Widdecombe tells all at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

From Parliament to the Dance Floor – Anne Widdecombe tells all at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Former Conservative MP and Strictly Come Dancing participant Ann Widdecombe offered some strong advice to Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson in her event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this afternoon. When asked what advice she would give Davidson to encourage more Scots to vote Conservative, Widdecombe said she ‘should talk a lot about Independence and how bad it would be for Scotland.’

In an hour long conversation in front of a sell-out audience Widdecombe discussed her politics, her faith and her time on the prime time BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing.

She admitted that being in the House of Lords was top of her wish list once she had retired from being a Member of Parliament but confessed that, while she was disappointed that David Cameron had not wanted her in the Lords, she was not entirely surprised.

She also admitted that she had been on the point of accepting Cameron’s offer of the position of Ambassador to the Vatican, despite her concerns about representing the views and ideals of this Government.

When asked about her career on the dance floor, she commented ‘Don’t you mean careering around the dance floor?’ before revealing how she’d been asked to participate on the show every year for 5 years but was concerned about her lack of dancing ability. She only accepted the offer once she had retired from politics – and after she had seen John Sergeant on the programme. Saying her core skills were entertaining not dancing, she admitted that, within the first hour of training for the popular dace show, her professional dance partner, Anton du Beke, said ‘The less time you spend with your feet on the floor, the better.’ Had they made it to the final of the competition they had planned perform their entire routine suspended in the air.

Following the programme, she went on to do the live tour, then went straight into Panto with Craig Revel Horwood. To her surprise, her agent got a call from the casting team from the Royal Opera House asking Ann to perform at Covent Garden. Convinced it was a wind-up Widdecombe was amused when the brief was read to her – the character they wanted her to play was a very rude autocratic lady. Not much acting required.

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