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Last updated: 4:38 PM

From Press Association


Widdecombe to stand down as MP

Press Association
Monday October 8, 2007 12:08 AM

Former prisons minister Ann Widdecombe has confirmed she will stand down at the next general election.

Miss Widdecombe, 60, who has been an MP for 20 years, will not seek re-election in the seat of Maidstone and the Weald.

The Tory MP, who famously said Michael Howard had "something of the night about him", confirmed she would not stand again following the Prime Minister's announcement that there will be no general election this year.

Miss Widdecombe said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have made the last 20 years so rewarding and especially the Officers and Members of Maidstone Conservative Association."

Miss Widdecombe was educated at the Royal Naval School Singapore and the La Sainte Union Convent in Bath.

She later gained degrees in Latin and Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Birmingham University and Oxford University. She went on to work in marketing at Unilever and then at London University.

She unsuccessfully fought the parliamentary seats of Burnley (1979) and Plymouth Devonport (1983) before becoming MP for Maidstone (later to become Maidstone and The Weald) in 1987.

In 1990 she was appointed a junior minister at the Department of Social Security and three years later held a similar post at the Department of Employment.

But it was at the Home Office that she became a household name, when, as prisons minister between 1995 and 1997, she was at the centre of a furious row when she defended the shackling of a pregnant prisoner to a bed.

She has always thrived on controversy, and even relished the nickname "Doris Karloff".

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2007, All Rights Reserved.

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