Ann Widdecombe defends gay science views as shows axed

Ann Widdecombe Image copyright PA
Image caption Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe was recently elected as an MEP for the Brexit Party

Ann Widdecombe says she does not regret her comments about sexuality, which have led to some of her theatre appearances being cancelled.

Venues in Greater Manchester, Devon and Surrey have axed tour dates after the Brexit Party MEP suggested science could “produce an answer” to being gay.

She blamed a “liberal tyranny” for the backlash and said theatres refusing to host shows were “denying free speech”.

Miss Widdecombe’s critics have accused her of waging an “anti-LGBT campaign”.

“I’m disappointed that the people who bought the tickets are now finding that they can’t have that fun after all,” she told the BBC.

“This is now the grip that I call the liberal tyranny and I think we have got to fight it.”

The Penlee Open Air Theatre in Penzance, the Electric Theatre in Guildford and the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe have cancelled bookings for the one-woman show Strictly Ann: An Evening With Ann Widdecombe because of her comments in a Sky News interview.

David Hutchinson, who runs the Landmark Theatre, said he was “absolutely disgusted” by her remarks.

Theatres including Altrincham’s Garrick said the show had been cancelled due to “unforeseeable events”.

Exminster Women’s Institute has cancelled a talk scheduled for later this month “without prejudice” to “protect our members from any bad publicity”.

Miss Widdecombe, 71, made the comments when she was asked about views she had previously aired concerning gay conversion therapy.

She told the BBC she was “hijacked” when questioned about her views on sexuality, after agreeing to speak about winning a seat in May’s European elections.

The MEP said she stood by her comments, but they had been “distorted” on social media

“This is the downside of social media because something is said, it’s immediately distorted and that distortion spreads like wildfire,” she said.

“One or two people have had the grace to come back to me and say ‘yes, we have now watched the interview and we apologise – we didn’t realise that’s all it was’.”

Miss Widdecombe added that she had no intention of using the one-woman shows as a platform for her views on sexuality.

Other theatres were “standing their ground” and new dates were being added to the tour, she said.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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