Man takes to task Ann Widdecome for ‘spreading hate’ during television debate

An audience member takes Ann Widdecombe to task for 'spreading hate'. Photograph: Channel 5.

An audience member takes Ann Widdecombe to task for 'spreading hate'. Photograph: Channel 5. - Credit: Archant

A man has taken to task Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe for 'spreading hate' during a live television debate.

During Channel 5's Brexit Debate Widdecombe claimed that the programme's survey that revealed 49% of the country believe no-deal Brexit was bad for the UK was a result of them listening to "project fear".

An audience member responded to the MEP's claims by referencing the comments of war veteran Victor Gregg, who appeared on BBC Breakfast earlier in the week.

He said: "Let's just talk about project fear for the moment.

"On breakfast television yesterday a British parachuter from the Second World War appeared, 100 years old. He just said how frightened he was by Brexit."

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As those around him shook their head in disgust, he explained: "Social media was then alive with people calling him a 'traitor'."

He attributed the blame to people like those within Widdecombe's Brexit Party.

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He continued: "The go-to word of the leading lights of the Brexit Party is 'traitor' like you today. This country is being torn apart by intolerance."

But presenter Jeremy Vine intervened to claim that the Brexiteer had not used the word on the programme.

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However, the audience member pointed out that Widdecombe had used similar language, telling Vine: "Oh she's used plenty of words in the European parliament, comparing us to slaves."

Widdecombe didn't deny she would use similar language, but said she would not use it about war veterans.

She said: "Hang on, I wouldn't use it about a centenarian who had been frightened by what he had been told. You cannot say that I would do that, that is quite wrong."

She continued unapologetically: "What I have said - and I make no apology for it - is those who have handed our future to the EU by saying that they can determine the length of any extension, people who have handed our future to the EU and handicapped the British government by taking away their strongest card which is no-deal off the table, I have called those people guilty of betrayal not innocent old centenarians."

But the audience member interrupted Widdecombe's flow to hit back to tell her she was spreading hate.

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To applause, he said: "This country has been torn apart by fear, by resentment, by intolerance. I don't recognise this country any more. The hate that you peddle!"

Earlier this month Widdecombe wrote in the Express that those who took offence to being accused of "sheer treachery" were living in a "ludicrous age of snowflakery".

She added that: "Death threats are part and parcel of an MP's existence."

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