RACHEL JOHNSON: My Big Brother secret revealed at last

Ann Widdecombe and Rachel Johnson in the Big Brother house. Picture: Channel 5

Ann Widdecombe and Rachel Johnson in the Big Brother house. Picture: Channel 5 - Credit: Archant

As Ann Widdecombe vents about modern feminists' need for special priveleges, RACHEL JOHNSON reveals all about Dartmoor's Boudicca's snowflake tendencies.

I was cruising through Paddington Station the other day and I saw a familiar figure bustling towards a Devon-bound train. 'Ann!' I shouted.

The woman didn't look up, as she was clearly used to being 'hailed' by randomers and not always in a nice way. She pressed on, eyes down, her wheelie case whirring at her heels.

'Ann!' I yelled, more of a carrying hunting cry this time, and she saw me.

'You still owe me a drink!' Ann Widdecombe said with an evil smile.

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It was the first time I'd seen Ann since we spent three weeks in Elstree together earlier in the year in the Big Brother house.

I very much did owe her a drink, as we had clashed over many things (her naked preference for the male sex mainly). But it was specifically because we'd disputed the author of a quote and had agreed the winner would sock the loser a whiskey in the American Bar of the Savoy. When I was evicted a week before her – she was far more popular than I was – one of the first things I did was to check.

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Damn! Widdy was right and I was wrong. (It was Macbeth not Andrew Marvell.)

'I know I do,' I replied, and as the guard whistled she shoved a card into my hand. It said 'The Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe' and underneath revealed that the name of her Dartmoor fastness is 'Widdecombe's Rest', to convey her sense of humour.

Having said all that, I know Ann will not mind in the slightest if I roar with laughter over her latest public emission. My former housemate, and former shadow home secretary and MP, 70, has vented in the Radio Times about how women are frightful whingers.

She compares the utter wetness of today's bunch of women to the feminists of the 1970s, who called for equal pay, the right to work despite being married, maternity pay, and so on. Nowadays women make 'pathetic whines for special privileges', she thundered. HAHAHA Ann! My aching sides!

Wouldn't normally do this to a sister but this is too good, and I can't resist. Yes, it is time for the world to find out via the pages of the soaraway New European that Ann Widdecombe refused to muck in like everyone else in the Big Brother house, and I'm not referring to her inability to do the cooking. (She couldn't – or wouldn't – even boil an egg, but made up for it by long stints on washing up duty.)

Yes, it is time to reveal exclusively that the Rt Hon A. Widdecombe insisted on having her OWN BATHROOM in the Big Brother house. She was the only housemate ever to insist on this rider. And her own SINGLE BED at all times. We didn't even know there was an Ann Widdecombe special bathroom (just beyond the Diary Room) until someone followed Ann in her nightie clutching towel and washbag and the treacherous discovery was made. Everyone else in the house – seven men and seven women – put up with communal conditions without complaint but not Dartmoor's Boudicca, who wrote, 'Here a woman, there a woman – but everywhere a bleat, bleat. It's the age of the whine and the whinge, of the moan and the groan. And, oh, do the women know how to milk that for all it's worth, while the men, poor wimps, stand by and meekly watch'.

Hilarious. After that, I will take no lectures about special privileges from her – and nor should anyone else.


So far Labour's (lack of) policy on Brexit has been called a shambles. Shower. Abdication. Surrender. And that's only by former Labour leaders. Not altogether surprising given its high command has no desire to overturn Brexit and stay in the EU, but only seeks to topple Theresa May and enter Downing Street.

But is there light at the end of the tunnel? At conference in Liverpool, Labour pledged to support all options remaining on the table including campaigning for a public vote.

If there is to be a vote – a big if – the public cannot seriously be asked to choose only between a bad deal, that the Labour party has already itself rejected, and no-deal. Enter Sir Keir Starmer stage right. He was cheered to the rafters for arguing that the option to remain in the EU must be on the ballot paper.

Without that option a public/people's vote would be an exercise in futility, not democracy.

This week showed that Labour rank and file is rejecting the leadership's unstated strategy of colluding in national self-harm to win power. Definitely a start.

Still, it's perfectly possible that the light at the end of the tunnel heralds the arrival of the train, so I'm not getting my hopes up.

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