Ann Widdecombe slammed for claims coronavirus will be like AIDS - ‘not as devastating as feared’

PUBLISHED: 16:11 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:59 14 March 2020

Brexiteer Ann Widdecombe. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA.

Brexiteer Ann Widdecombe. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

In a despicable newspaper column for the Express, former Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe has claimed that coronavirus will be like AIDS - something ‘not as devastating as feared’.

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In comments condemned by the LGBT+ community the Brexiteer used her newspaper column for the pro-Brexit newspaper to tell readers that she believed the public were taking concerns too far.

She wrote: 'I'm all for sensible precautions but I cannot help feeling that we are going mad over coronavirus'.

The former ex-Tory minister said that 'we need a sense of proportion', before trying to use a series of outbreaks which have all killed to justify her lack of concern.

She said: 'We need a sense of proportion in the face of the financial markets going into meltdown, aeroplanes being grounded and shops shutting their doors.'

And in baffling, unsubstantiated remarks, she continued: 'We have had the scare of SARs, bird flu, Ebola and of course AIDS.

'None proved as devastating as feared and more people died of the flu tan have died of coronavirus.'

MORE: Ann Widdecombe defends former Nazi camp guard saying case 'lacks proportionality'

MORE: Ten (scientific) reasons not to panic about coronavirus


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She added: 'It is nasty but, given the recovery rate, it is not the Black Death.'

The remarks about the AIDS disease - which has resulted in more than 38 million deaths including 770,000 fatalities in 2018 - was seen as another attack on the LGBT+ community, which was mostly affected by it.

Her comments were condemned after The New European exposed the column in an attempt to hold the politician to account.

Jamie Dickinson said: '38 million people died from AIDS this is a disgraceful statement. The politics of Ann Widdecombe and the far right needs to be defeated more than ever.'

'How do you even,' tweeted Jim Briggs. 'AIDS perforated my young life and my perspective in ways I am just now beginning to understand. This is just a flabbergasting statement, period, much less from an authority figure.'

'File Ann Widdecombe alongside Kula Shaker and The Levellers as things that were extremely shit in the 90s but are still inexplicably out there now,' posted Mark Wogan.

Ian Harris wrote: 'The reason AIDS isn't 'as bad as feared' is because billions of dollars and decades of research has gone into trying to stop it from being as bad as it could have been had we not done all that.'

'Who knew The Brexit Party was so filled with experts on Coronavirus?' asked another.

Last year a number of her shows that she had lined up for theatres across the UK were cancelled after she claimed that science will find a 'cure' for gay people.

During the general election campaign the prospective parliamentary candidate complained that was unable to say the word 'golliwog' without causing offence.

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Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

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