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18 May, 2023 16:00

UK unemployed should be forced to pick fruit – ex-MP

Ann Widdecombe has offered a controversial response to rocketing food prices
UK unemployed should be forced to pick fruit – ex-MP

Britons don’t have an automatic right to low food prices, former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe has claimed, adding that people should simply go without certain items if they are struggling financially.

Discussing the UK’s cost-of-living crisis on the BBC’s Politics Live show, the former Tory member suggested that anyone claiming unemployment benefits should be made to fill labor shortages by picking fruit.

Widdecombe also advised people who cannot afford to pay for some food items to simply stop buying them. 

“Well then you don’t do the cheese sandwich. None of it’s new. We’ve been through this before,” she said. “The problem is we’ve been decades now without inflation, we’ve come to regard it as some kind of given right.”

The cost of living has risen sharply in the UK over the past two years, with annual inflation standing at 10.1% in March, driven largely by soaring food prices. Although the inflation rate dipped from 10.4% in February, it fell less than expected and is still well above the Bank of England’s target of 2%.

Widdecombe, who also served as Brexit Party MEP, is known for her controversial comments. In 2021, she called Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “professional victims” and “professional whingers,” accusing them of wanting privacy but at the same time publicizing every detail of their lives. 

In 2019, Widdecombe triggered a backlash after saying that one day science could “produce an answer” for why some people are gay. The same year, a leaked WhatsApp conversation showed that she had used the offensive term ‘golliwog’, outdated British slang for anyone who is not white-skinned. 

Widdecombe defended gay conversion therapy in 2012, accusing the “homosexual lobby” of doing everything it could to ban it. In 2002, Widdecombe voiced support for the reintroduction of the death penalty, arguing it would “save lives.”

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section