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Carol Sarler's column: Ann's best in-tent.

A FEW days ago, out of mischievous curiosity, I took myself along to see flamboyant and clever gay broadcaster Simon Fanshawe interview Ann Widdecombe live on stage. Ho-ho, I thought: He'll soon put the old bat in her place.

In fact, there was no fun to be had. The venue was a tent, inside which the audience was a sea of grey hair; elderly people, with walking sticks, there to applaud their heroine.

Outside was a heaving demonstration against Miss Widdecombe; the Socialist Workers' Party, with megaphones in their hands and hate in their eyes, there to lynch their enemy. They screamed and spat and raged and, at one point, tried to push the walls of the tent on to the heads of the terrified audience.

But through it all, Miss Widdecombe's composure was amazing. She simply spoke a little louder, as she calmly answered questions with admirable intelligence and honesty.

She refused to finish early - and, indeed, made a point of staying behind to meet her fans and autograph copies of her book.

I left thinking ten times more of the woman than I had ever thought possible.

So well done, SWP.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Sep 3, 2000
Words:193
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