Widdecombe struts a spiceless salsa

As salsas go, it was decidedly unsaucy and lacking in spice...but at least it raised a smile.

As salsas go, it was decidedly unsaucy and lacking in spice...but at least it raised a smile.

In front of millions of prime-time viewers and four sharp-tongued judges, Ann Widdecombe managed to make the passionate Latin dance seem as sensual and sexual as a late night House of Common’s debate.

Refusing her partner’s gyrating rump and buttoning up his shirt may not have won over the 'Strictly Come Dancing' panel. But her unique dancing style is fast elevating the former member for Maidstone to the status of a John Sergeant-esque 'Strictly' treasure.

Dressed in a fetching turquoise outfit, the former MP donned the role of a disapproving prude for the performance.

After partner Anton Du Beke got things off to a thrilling start by ripping open his shirt, Widdecombe buttoned him back up.

And an attempt at a little bump ’n’ grind was greeted with equal enthusiasm from the former parliamentarian.

A playful push in the back saw Du Beke propelled to the edge of the dance floor.

But the pair got it together for a spectacular finale.

Ascending a podium at the back of the stage, Du Beke lifted his partner in the air and spun her around before attempting to gently place her back on the floor.

And the verdict from the all-important judges?

“It was unique,” ventured Bruno Tonioli. “Somewhere between horror and comedy,” he added.

Widdecombe pre-empted Craig Revel Horwood comments by reminding him that he didn’t have a “zero” marking card, so he should go ahead and award her one point there and then.

The usually straight-laced critic laughed at the bossy order before declaring: “There is not one word in the English language that can describe what 10 million people just witnessed.”

True to his word, he failed to offer up an adjective and called on fellow judge Len Goodman for help.

“It was a salsa the likes of which we will never see again,” the ballroom specialist said, adding: “It was wonderful entertainment.”

He marked it a “four” as did fellow judge Alesha Dixon. Tonioli opted for a “three”.

And true to Widdecombe’s prediction, Revel Horwood produced a “one”.

The MP will find out tomorrow if the performance was good enough for her to remain in the competition.

Rugby star Gavin Henson created a stir on the dance floor when partner Katya Virshilas ripped his shirt open halfway through their performance.

Revel Horwood criticised his dancing but added: “If people are voting at home for abdominals I’m sure you will win the whole programme.”

Virshilas claimed: “Gavin’s pretty shy so for him to do this dance was a big deal.”

But Henson did not seem shy when he shrugged off the judges’ criticisms, joking: “I probably looked good.”

Show host Tess Daly told Henson: “On behalf of women across the nation thanks for that, we enjoyed it.”

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