Nigel Farage is putting together quite an impressive line-up of candidates. This morning Ann Widdecombe announced she was one of them. Quite a coup by anybody's standards, and she will bring a lot of Tory supporters with her.
Widdecombe hasn't always been a Eurosceptic and was a big supporter of Ken Clarke back in the day. I remember on our theatre tours she would often be asked about leaving the EU and she'd say that it's all very well to want to do that but no one had ever explained what happened afterwards. In the intervening years someone has clearly told her!
She was an enthusiastic Leave supporter in the referendum but was frustrated that the official Vote Leave campaign didn't want to use her undoubted campaigning abilities.
Over the years Ann has shown a remarkable talent to reinvent herself and get back in the limelight. She's Number 1 on the Brexit Party list for the South West and I will guarantee that she'll set the region alight. In fact, it's the region everyone will be concentrating on, given that among her opponents will be Rachel Johnson and Andrew Adonis.
The Conservative Party only has itself to blame for this turn of events. They've never understood Ann's popularity with the party's grassroots. Even now, nine years on from leaving Parliament, she's in huge demand for Association fund raising events. Well that all comes to an end now. She should have been put in the Lords years ago but neither Cameron nor May would hear of it.
Andrew Pierce trailed her possible candidacy for the Brexit Party in Monday's Daily Mail. In the intervening 48 hours no one from the Party thought to ring Ann to persuade her she should stick with the party she's been a loyal member of for 55 years. Does no one at CCHQ or in the Whip's Office read the Daily Mail?
Ann Widdecombe is a formidable campaigning force and I've little doubt she will be elected in the South West.
The European Parliament won't know what's hit it.