Ann Widdecombe: I refuse to quit Strictly Come Dancing
Ann Widdecombe has refused to 'do a John Sergeant' and quit Strictly Come Dancing despite a backlash by viewers who believe her jokey performances are wearing thin.
Sergeant famously pulled out of the BBC One show in 2008 after the judges complained that his lack of dancefloor prowess was making a mockery of the competition.
Viewers registered a similar protest following Sunday night's results show, in which Miss Widdecombe survived the vote and Jimi Mistry was eliminated.
A defiant Miss Widdecombe said yesterday: "I won't take a leaf out of John Sergeant's book and quit. It would be a slap in the face of the public. Nobody decides who stays and who goes - the BBC doesn't, the judges don't - apart from the public. Those are the rules.
"As long as the public want me there, I'll stay. When they don't want me, I'll go - I'll have to. It seems to me that if you turn around and say to the public who have voted you through, 'I'm off, I've got better things to do', then that's incredibly rude."
The former Home Office minister said she was stunned by Mr Mistry's departure as he was one of the show's most proficient dancers.
But she insisted: "If it was just a dance competition the show would be broadcast by BBC Sport. But it's an entertainment show. If people don't like how the public vote, it's bad luck. They should try being a politician."
Len Goodman, one of the show's judges, predicted that the comedy pairing of Miss Widdecombe and Anton du Beke would run out of steam. He told the Radio Times: "Ann Widdecombe has been wonderful [but] there comes a time when that will no longer be sufficient. When better dancers start going, the public will come to their senses."