The Tory Shadow Home Secretary under William Hague from 1999 on. Her undeniably rather frightening appearance has been more of an issue than is strictly fair; her far right wing authoritarian views are at least as scary. Her lowest moment came after the 2000 Conservative Party conference, when she announced a policy of zero tolerance for cannabis users, with immediate fines for anyone caught with the herb. The policy was denounced by all the other political parties, many Conservatives, the media establishment and even the police; subsequently about half of the Shadow Cabinet admitted to smoking ganja in their youths, and one even admitted he enjoyed it. The policy was soon dropped.

A devout Christian, she converted to Catholicism in 1993 in protest against the Church of England's decision to allow women priests; her religion evidently informs her views on many things. Unusually for such a right-winger, she supports an outright ban on fox hunting.

Ann Widdecombe is the MP for Maidstone & The Weald, enjoying a comfortable majority of 10,318 after the last election. Her future in the Shadow Cabinet is uncertain following the Conservative Party's second crushing General Election defeat and the resignation of William Hague immediately afterwards. Her web page, the Widdy Web (seriously, that's what it's called!) is at