Of course, we should be grateful for this. It is good to see any Opposition politician being so effective in challenging the Government. She obviously enjoys it, and is something of a natural for television, as her interview with Sarah Montague on the BBC the other morning demonstrated. She is a conviction politician. The only trouble with Miss Widdecombe is that her convictions - sincerely held and robustly fought for - are less than appealing.
Miss Widdecombe, we should not forget, was the minister who presided over the shackling of pregnant female prisoners; who has declared, rather disturbingly, that the NHS alone is incapable of meeting patients' needs; has opposed lowering the age of consent for gay people; has described the BBC's output as "filth"; and is enthusiastic about capital punishment. She also thinks that Jack Straw is right and that Britain is a soft touch for asylum seekers, even as we issue them with below-subsistence-level food vouchers. Miss Widdecombe may be a safe pair of hands to look after her party; but the voters are likely to remain far from convinced that this effective, even charming extremist is safe to run the country.Reuse content