Ann Widdecombe urges Braverman to act on stopping boats after speech

Suella Braverman receives warm reception at Express party

Suella Braverman must follow up her tough talk at the Conservative Party conference with action when it comes to the small boats crossing the English Channel, Ann Widdecombe has said.

And the former Tory MP and minister, who more recently served as a Brexit Party MEP, has warned the Home Secretary – and the Conservatives in general – any hopes of a pre-election “reset” rest on deeds not words – as well as scoffing at the idea of Nigel Farage rejoining the party.

Ms Braverman’s speech – in which she warned of a “hurricane” of immigration and claimed Britain “would go properly woke” under Labour – went down well with the party faithful.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is hoping the conference will be a springboard for his party and he seeks to cut Labour’s lead in the polls, with less than a year to go before a general election.

However, with the number of people having attempted hazardous crossings passing 25,000 earlier this week, Ms Widdecombe, who served as a minister in the Government of John Major in several departments between 1993 and 1997, including as prisons minister, was left unconvinced.

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She told “The only thing that’s going to reset the political scene is if they actually do something rather than talking about doing things.

“Suella Braverman now has a solid record of talk, talk talk and we haven’t stopped a single boat.

“We need action and not rhetoric.”

Ex-Brexit Party leader Mr Farage, alongside whom Ms Widdecombe sat in Brussels in 2019, made a splash by visiting the conference, with footage subsequently emerging of he and ex-Home Secretary Priti Patel dancing at a party.

However, Ms Widdecombe dismissed any suggestions that he was planning a return to the party he quit in 1992.

She explained: “He was covering it for GB News.

“There are all sorts of people at the conference – there are people from The Guardian, people from the BBC.

“They’re not joining the Tory party. Nigel was there in his capacity as a GB News presenter.

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“And he probably enjoy doing it, because he got a lot of attention and I’m sure irritated the party management, but they couldn’t refuse a press pass.”

Asked whether she would have gone herself, Daily Express columnist Ms Widdecombe added: “I have no status to go, I have no press pass for those sorts of things.”

Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday, former UKIP leader Mr Farage said the things he fought for have become “quite mainstream within the Conservative Party”, adding that he had been “welcomed with open arms” at the conference.

His views had previously been characterised by senior Conservatives as “extreme”, “bad” and “wrong”, he explained.

However, he added: “Those things we have fought for have become quite mainstream within the Conservative Party.

Mr Farage also said it was “very nice” of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to say he could return to the Conservatives – while insisting he would not be doing so.

Speaking on his GB News show earlier in the week, he said: “Would I want to join a party that’s put the tax rate up to the highest in over 70 years, that has allowed net migration to run at over half a million a year, that has not used Brexit to deregulate to help small businesses? No, no and no.”

“I achieved a lot more outside of the Tory party than I ever could have done from within it.”

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