Belfast Telegraph

Ann's Widdecombe Catholic tastes a topic for discussion at Belfast Book Festival

By Joanne Savage

The ever-outspoken former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe (66), last widely seen on Strictly Come Dancing doing a questionable Titanic-inspired rumba with Anton du Beke, arrived at the Crescent Arts Centre to talk about her life and work.

A Belfast Book Festival event, Widdecombe has published two recent works, her autobiography and a book on penance entitled Sackcloth and Ashes, but here she wanted to discuss her memoir, Plain Ann.

Interviewer Noel Thompson began by asking about her famous conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism – the former church's decision to elect women priests was a major catalyst and Catholicism suited her distaste of a liberal-leaning Anglicanism.

Widdecombe is an interesting if uncompromising and contradictory political mind but is also entertaining on the lighter themes, explaining that appearing on Strictly was liberating fun since on her retirement in 2010 she could surrender duty and dignity.

Done with the serious stuff, she finally revealed she has penned a detective novel set on a dance show, available to readers soon.

Three stars

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