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Monday, 7 October, 2002, 18:03 GMT 19:03 UK
Widdecombe: I'm outselling Edwina
Ann Widdecombe is popular with grassroots Tories
Ann Widdecombe's novel is outselling Edwina Currie's Diaries by "more than 30 to one" at the Conservative Party conference in Bournemouth.

The Tory faithful are snapping up copies of an Act of Treachery, Miss Widdecombe's wartime tale of a young French girl who falls for a married German officer, at Politico's book stall.


It's probably just as well Edwina Currie did stay away - she would probably have been lynched

Iain Dale
Politico's bookshop
But Edwina Currie's real-life tale of her four-year romance with former prime minister John Major sold only a handful of copies on the first day of conference, despite hitting the bookshops just over a week ago.

Miss Widdecombe, who remains hugely popular with grassroots Tories, spent most of Monday signing copies of the book at the Politico's stand.

The former shadow home secretary said: "I have been outselling her by 30 or 40 to one."

Mrs Currie decided to stay away from Bournemouth to save the Tories "any further embarrassment".

One of those picking up a copy of Miss Widdecombe's book was her successor, Oliver Letwin.

Iain Dale, who owns Politico's, said he had sold around 100 copies of Miss Widdecombe's book on the first day of the conference.

"It's probably just as well Edwina Currie did stay away," he said. "She would probably have been lynched."

Outrage

He said many conference delegates had been urging him to take Mrs Currie's book off the shelves.

"There is still a lot of affection for John Major, people still like him.

"Particularly amongst older women, there is a real sense of outrage.

"It is almost exclusively older women, women of a certain age, complaining that we have it on sale.

"And I thought Conservatives believed in freedom of speech, " he joked.


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