Ann Widdecombe sat down in an exclusive interview with FairBettingSites.
Speaking on a wide range of hot topics, the former member of parliament for Maidstone made some eye opening statements about the current nurses strike.
Ms Widdecombe also commented on Matt Hancock’s recent trip into the jungle, saying he “failed his constituents”.
Highlights from the interview:
- Nurses on cloud cuckoo land if they want 19%
- Matt Hancock failed his constituents by going on I’m a Celeb and he shouldn’t touch boxing – he’d end up with a broken nose
- I’d pay not to hear Theresa May make a speech
- But Boris Johnson is right to trouser £1m since leaving – people are just jealous
- Ex-PM should consider Strictly though – but not as an MP
- Govt must stand up to Mick Lynch like Margaret Thatcher did
- Rishi Sunak has no inner Margaret Thatcher but his party is ungovernable
- Labour are far from a safe bet for 2024 election – I’d bet on Tories
Nurses on cloud cuckoo land
Ann Widdecombe said, “The Government needs to face down the unions in much the same way that Margaret Thatcher eventually did and simply say I’m sorry, we understand what inflation does, but the most important aim has to be to get inflation down.
We can’t do that if we are putting pay rises near the level of inflation. There has to be a gap. I would even say that to the nurses. I understand entirely, but 19% is cloud cuckoo land as it has to be paid for.”
Stand up to Mick Lynch
Ann Widdecombe said, “The Govt has to to stand firm against Mick Lynch. In the 70’s – which I still remember with shuddering horror – we had strike after strike after strike. There was even a point where the doctors were taking industrial action, then if you died, you couldn’t get buried because the grave diggers were out on strike. London was full of overflowing rubbish and goodness knows what else. I just remember it with shuddering horror.
The causes are very similar, because the major cause is inflation. We have been spoiled now for a couple of decades, we’ve somehow grown to regard it as an entitlement, when there’s inflation, people’s pay packets are worth less, so they want to catch up with inflation, so if you do that, it just puts the prices up and you get into the wage cost spiral.
The 70’s were worse because it was allowed to go on and that’s why this government has to stop this going on and face down strikes.
In the end, whole generations don’t remember the 70s, even children alive in the 70’s don’t have active adult memories of what it entailed, so people think we are in an entirely new situation. We aren’t. One of the big arts of politics is to learn the lessons of the past.”
Tighten up anti-strike laws
Ann Widdecombe said, “I think anti strike laws have a very big role to play. They did in the Thatcher years, but in the 70s there was no notice of strikes. We all know now when the trains aren’t going to be running, get it in the diary. We make other arrangements as we have notice. In the 70s they could strike at the drop of a hat. They had a lot of unofficial strikes or wildcad strikes.
The laws that Thatcher introduced helped tremendously, now probably we do need to tighten up. I would much rather the government tried to resolve this by appealing to the common sense of the public. Unions won’t go on strike if they don’t think they have the support of the public.
Mick Lynch is gradually losing support, but he started with a lot.”
Boris Johnson deserves his £1m for speeches – people are just jealous
Ann Widdecombe said, “It’s nonsense to say MPs shouldn’t have second earnings. If they’re capable, good on them. We want capable people in politics. You’re not neglecting constituents by public speaking. If you’re speaking for three hours, say, that’s all it takes and you’re not depriving constituents.
I refused to do Strictly while I was an MP, but I did some of the little ones. One of them involved one Sunday a month for six months. With Boris, it’s his reputation combined with the sum of money that has drawn criticism. There is a huge envy out there. He’s always divided people with his huge personality.”
He should also consider Strictly – but not as an MP
Ann Widdecombe said, “Boris Johnson would be absolutely grand for Strictly, but he’s still an MP. So I don’t think he should as an MP. Believe me, Strictly is a 7-day-a-week business. It’s absolutely full-on and then Monday morning you’re there again. If you’re successful you could be doing that for 10 weeks.
I think we could see him doing something else, he loved doing Have I Got News For You.”
Matt Hancock failed constituents on I’m a Celeb – and he shouldn’t go anywhere near a boxing ring
Ann Widdecombe said, “It was wrong for Matt Hancock to make money from I’m a Celeb. To take weeks away from Parliament, when it was in recess, and also there will always be a case from a constituent that needs an MPs attention. That is a failure to constituents.
If he were to step in the ring, I think he’d look an absolute fool and he’d end up with a broken nose and two black eyes. I really don’t think he should do that. I don’t see him as a boxer. Boxing is a skill, it’s serious. The only person I think he should box with would be a teenager just to learn. He’s chosen the wrong direction and I don’t think he should have gone in the jungle.”
I’d pay to not listen to a Theresa May speech
Ann Widdecombe said, “Theresa May is not the most inspiring person on Earth. When she talks people go to sleep. Although smaller than Boris, she’s still making a fortune on the speaking circuit and no one has complained about that.
And yet she was the biggest failure going. But they complain about Boris because whatever Boris does, it divides people.
I don’t understand why people would pay to hear Theresa May speak. I’d pay money not to hear her speak. I wouldn’t pay a fiver to go to an event with Theresa May.”
Rishi Sunak doesn’t have an ‘inner-Thatcher’
Ann Widdecombe said, “I’m not convinced Rishi Sunak has an inner Thatcher. I think Rishi is a perfectly competent manager, but I don’t see any vision.
What is his vision for the future of britain? Liz Truss had a vision. The vision was sound, what was absolutely hopeless was the implementation. They tried to do everything at once, they did it without consultation, didn’t try and take people with her but the actual vision of a low tax, highly competitive economy, making the most of Brexit and our opportunities to compete with rather than be subjectived by the EU was right.I don’t know what Rishi’s vision is. When you say summon his inner Thatcher, I’m not sure he’s there.”
Rishi’s cabinet is ungovernable
Ann Widdecombe said, “Sunak is a perfectly reasonable manager and so long as that is all that you require, that is absolutely fine, but it’s not a long term solution to anything. You need a vision and a programme and some idea of where the train is going. With Thatcher, you always knew where the train was going. You might have wanted to jump off occasionally, but you always knew where it was going, because she had a philosophy, she had a vision, she had a determination to make everything happen.
Rishi has the majority to try and do that but he has a completely ungovernable parliamentary party. They are completely ungovernable. That is his biggest drawback, he’ll always be afraid to do things which are original because he has such a hopeless mutinous party.
I don’t know because it’s a medium to long term business which revolves around the selection of candidates, “
Labour shouldn’t be so confident
Ann Widdecombe said, “No, I don’t think it’s inevitable that Keir Starmer is the next Prime Minister. I’m not saying that because I would prefer that he didn’t become Prime Minister. There are two years until the next election. Two years is an age in politics. Two years ago, everyone thought the Tories were invincible, now Labour are invincible. There’s no reason why in two years time, it won’t be the Tories again.
There’s plenty of time as inflation starts to subside, if they stand firm over the strikes and things do get a bit better, people become less willing to take a leap in the dark to the other side.
If I was going to bet on the next election – and I haven’t ever bet on an election in my life – but if I was going to, at a time when the odds are very strongly against the Tories, it’s a pretty good time to put on a modest wager.
As you get closer to an election, people want to know what you are going to do. People want to know what Labour is going to do, not what it says, not what the Tories are getting wrong.
As you get nearer to an election you have to start putting your policies on the line and then people start to think if that’s what we really want, and now it doesn’t look impossible that we move to a hung parliament.”
Ukraine and inflation are 2023’s biggest headaches
Ann Widdecombe said, “There are two things affecting everyone in the west at the moment, not just the Tories. In Britain we tend to look at ourselves and say it’s only happening here. But inflation is happening everywhere. The big impacts have been the vast expenditure and dished out during Covid. We all knew at the time we’d have to pay for it, but suddenly we seem very surprised. But we are going to have to pay for it because we spent billions under Sunak.
The other issue is the inevitable fallout from the war in Ukraine. So the big question is, is there going to be a resolution there? But there won’t be because he’s dug too far in now. That will have an impact, there will be ongoing shortages. I see no easy way out of those two things. I think the Ukraine war could rumble on far longer than people are expecting.”
Putin not easy to assassinate
Ann Widdecombe said, “I don’t think Putin would be easy to assassinate so long as you have people who are loyal to you, and remain loyal to you. As amazing as it seems to the west, he still has people who are too loyal to him. So I don’t see an assisination.
If he got to the point where he can’t carry on, that might just produce a change. The west needs to toughen up on sanctions but that’s the only weapon it’s got. And we can step up our efforts to supply Ukraine.
Boris was superb on Ukraine, despite whatever else he may have got wrong, along with the vaccinations.”