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Brexit Party’s Ann Widdecombe, who thinks gay people can be cured, also thinks it’s OK to use racist slurs

Vic Parsons December 12, 2019
Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe speaks during the Brexit Party general election campaign tour on November 8, 2019 in Wales. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Brexit Party candidate and former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe has refused to apologise for using the word “golliwog” in a group chat with Brexit Party activists.

Widdecombe, who is standing for the Brexit Party in the Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport constituency, used the word in a WhatsApp message that has been leaked by concerned members.

After screenshots of her messages were leaked to the Plymouth Herald, the 72-year-old refused to apologise.

A screenshot shows her message saying: “Yes, I threw all my toys of the pram. Bears and gollywogs [sic] flying everywhere!!”

Widdecombe told the Plymouth Herald: “It’s very straightforward — I was talking about throwing my toys out of my pram.”

“70 years ago, what toys did you find in a child’s pram? Right – there you go. It’s a word, referring to a toy – a toy,” Widdecombe added.

Other Brexit Party members of the WhatsApp group chat responded to her message with cry-laughter emojis.

But one party insider called her a racist and said: “I understand a lot of Ann comments previously were based on her religious beliefs. But racism is racism. The Brexit Party is no longer a broad church, it’s become a vehicle for the far right.”

When asked if she would apologise for the comments made over WhatsApp, Widdecombe said, “No, I am not apologising. I am not apologising, seriously.”

In response to whether it was a reflection of wider racism in the Brexit Party, she said: “I fundamentally think that’s a very stupid question to ask. It’s just a game that people play – a stupid, cynical game, that I am no part of at all.”

Ann Widdecombe has previously come under fire for suggesting that “science may yet produce” a cure for homosexuality.

The veteran anti-LGBT+ campaigner made the comments on Sky News on June 2 when pressed about a 2012 article she wrote lamenting that therapy to make people “become heterosexual” was denied to “unhappy homosexuals”.

Asked about her 2012 remarks, Widdecombe, 71, said, “I also pointed out there was a time when we thought it was quite impossible for men to become women and vice versa.

“And the fact we now think it’s quite impossible for people to switch sexuality doesn’t mean science may not yet produce an answer at some stage.”

More: Ann Widdecombe, Brexit Party, Homophobia, racism

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