Brexiteer Ann Widdecombe cancels National Trust membership in protest at body's 'woke agenda'

Ann Widdecombe in a garden speaking on national TV.

Ann Widdecombe has cancelled her National Trust membership in protest at the body's 'woke games'. - Credit: Archant

Ann Widdecombe has cancelled her membership with the National Trust in protest at their treatment of Winston Churchill's home. 

Appearing on the Jeremy Vine show, the former Brexit Party MEP said she was "tired" of "woke games being played".

"This explains why in the last week I cancelled my membership of the National Trust because I am tired of these sorts of woke games being played."

Widdecombe claimed Churchill was of the leading 20th century figures to "fight evil" and "retain liberty" and was disappointed when the body added his house in Kent onto its "list of shame".

She argued Churchill was never "personally connected" with slavery.

MORE: Ann Widdecombe struggles to name another country without trade deal within 2,000 miles

"It isn't just Churchill. Wordsworth apparently is included. Wordsworth actively opposed slavery but, oh, his bother was in favour so therefore Wordsworth's house is on the list."

Vine interjected explaining the poet's brother lived at the Cumbrian house now being singled out.

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"We need to get a sense of perspective," she replied.

Taking aim at the downing of Edward Colston's statue, she said: "When he was alive, we still had in this country hanging, drawing, and quartering and yet we expect him to have had our development to oppose slavery."

Twitter users had a mixed response to the interview.

One user wrote: "She made sense here to be fair. Much as I do agree that we’ve glossed over the past to some degree. A history that shows how we’ve developed and grown as human beings is a more realistic approach to this now. It’s positive too and helps develop a trajectory."

Another added: "Literally all anyone is saying is that we should learn about both the good and bad aspects of our history."

Belinda Cox said she was planning to join the National Trust now Widdecombe had left. 

Jordan Welsh said: "I look forward to visiting National Trust properties with no chance of Ann Widdecombe being there too. Sounds like a great day out!"

Even the show's presenter joined in, writing: "Ann drops the big one, live on air. 'I have cancelled my @nationaltrust membership.'"

The trust recently published an audit that claimed 93 of its properties – including the former homes of author Rudyard Kipling and historian Thomas Carlyle – were linked to slavery or colonialism.

Its entry on Chartwell, Churchill’s family home in Kent, noted that the politician was colonies secretary in the 1920s and had opposed independence for India.

A National Trust spokesman said: "The report does not make judgments about people or the places in our care but makes clear the deep and wide-ranging connections of colonialism and historic slavery across the centuries at our houses."

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