Ann Widdecombe to show off her moves

By Alex Stevenson

Former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe has been confirmed for the 2010 lineup on BBC1’s hit Saturday night show Strictly Come Dancing.

The 62-year-old stepped down from the Commons after 23 years in parliament at the general election but has now found a new platform to express herself – on the dancefloor.

She will provide tough competition for former Destiny Child’s Michelle Williams, rugby star Gavin Henson and international DJ Goldie.

Ms Widdecombe’s career to date is unlikely to provide her with directly useful experience for the show. She served as prisons minister in government under John Major before being shadow health secretary and shadow home secretary under William Hague.

Her Strictly appearance will not be her first major venture outside politics: Ms Widdecombe has written novels including The Clematis Tree, An Act of Treachery and An Act of Peace.

Rumours had associated Ms Widdecombe with the post of ambassador to the Vatican, which was set to come vacant this year. These have now subsided.

Instead Ms Widdecombe, who told politics.co.uk before the election that she believed parliament was in a “lousy state”, will focus on winning over Bruce Forsyth, not the Pope.