Rock on! Ann Widdecombe, scourge of drugs, bags Shaun Ryder's ex-manager

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Indy Politics

Ann Widdecombe, the shadow Home Secretary, has hired a former manager of a one-time drug-addicted rock star to take on a new role - as her new House of Commons assistant.

Ann Widdecombe, the shadow Home Secretary, has hired a former manager of a one-time drug-addicted rock star to take on a new role - as her new House of Commons assistant.

The Tory MP's new secretary, who starts next week, used to manage Shaun Ryder, a former registered drug addict who fronted the successful Manchester bands the Happy Mondays and Black Grape.

Miss Widdecombe, who famously advocated a zero tolerance policy towards cannabis users, was unaware that Gloria Nicholl's former client "used cannabis more or less continuously whilst recording".

She also said that Mrs Nicholl's experience in the music industry and in the Catholic church, where she worked after leaving the pop world, would come in useful at the House of Commons. Miss Widdecombe said: "She came from the music industry but I have absolutely no idea at all what she did. I am sure she is very used to working long hours and dealing with people at all levels. She is a good Catholic. She has experience in the Cath-olic church and is used to dealing with people's problems."

Mrs Nicholl, who with her husband, William, formed half of the music management duo Nicholl and Dime, won a £160,000 court case against the Happy Mondays frontman for unpaid commission last year.

During the court case evidence was given that Ryder was known in the music industry for "abusing drugs".

Miss Widdecombe's current secretary is leaving the House of Commons to have a baby.

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