Ann Winterton

Jane Ann, Lady Winterton (née Hodgson; born 6 March 1941 in Sutton Coldfield) is a British Conservative Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Congleton from 1983 to 2010. She is married to Sir Nicholas Winterton, also a former Conservative MP.

Lady Winterton
Member of Parliament
for Congleton
In office
9 June 1983  12 April 2010
Preceded byConstituency Created
Succeeded byFiona Bruce
Personal details
Born (1941-03-06) 6 March 1941 (age 80)
Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Sir Nicholas Winterton

Parliamentary career

Winterton was educated at Erdington Grammar School for Girls. Following her election to represent Congleton in 1983, she was a member of several select committees, including Agriculture (1987–1997), the chairman's panel (1992–1998) and the National Drug Strategy (1998–2001), Social Security (2000–2001) and the Unopposed Bills Panel since 1997. She is a representative of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and a patron of Cheshire National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She is also president of the Congleton Pantomime Society.


Winterton became Shadow Rural Affairs Minister in 2001,[1] and in May 2002 told the club dinner:

An Englishman, a Cuban, a Japanese man and a Pakistani were all on a train.
The Cuban threw a fine Havana cigar out the window. When he was asked why, he replied: "They are ten a penny in my country."
The Japanese man threw an expensive Nikon camera out of the carriage, adding: "These are ten a penny in my country."
The Englishman then picked up the Pakistani and threw him out of the train window.
When the other travellers asked him to account for his actions, he said: "They are ten a penny in my country."'[2]

In February 2004 she had the Conservative whip removed for telling the following joke (which alluded to the recent death of twenty-three illegal immigrant Chinese cockle-pickers in Morecambe Bay) at a Whitehall private dinner party to improve Denmark–United Kingdom relations and declining to apologise:

One shark turned to the other to say he was fed up chasing tuna and the other said, "Why don't we go to Morecambe Bay and get some Chinese?"[3]

A month later, Winterton apologised for the joke, and had the whip restored.[4] Lord Taylor of Warwick, the only black Conservative peer in the House of Lords, criticised the decision to restore the whip and said she was not fit to be an MP.[5]

Nick Palmer, then Labour MP for Broxtowe, who was at the dinner, criticised the joke and told BBC Radio 4's Today, "People were a bit stunned really. It was a very low-key friendly dinner. I was very sorry for the host – it was just a group of people discussing Danish issues."[6]

Michael Howard, leader of the Conservatives, said, "Ann Winterton's remarks about the tragic deaths in Morecambe Bay were completely unacceptable. Such sentiments have no place in the Conservative Party. I deplore them and I apologise for them on behalf of my party."[6]

In September 2005 (following the May general election), Winterton said she felt that Britain is a country where:[7]

"Crime is out of control ... and where thousands of illegal immigrants are waved in with no checks on whether they are criminals or potential terrorists. [...] We live in times of tremendous change, but the United Kingdom is still, thankfully, a predominantly white, Christian country. [...] Some might say we are now paying the price for the so-called 'benefits' of the multicultural society, the product of almost uncontrolled immigration and the abuse of asylum."[8]

Along with her husband, she managed to ask questions at Tony Blair's last Prime minister's questions in 2007.[citation needed]

MPs' misuse of expenses

Together with Nicholas Winterton, Ann Winterton was investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, who concluded that they had misused their MPs' expenses to pay rent for a flat that they had already bought outright. The Wintertons transferred the ownership of the flat into a family trust to avoid the inheritance tax threshold. Since 2002, they had paid the rent for living in the flat from their MPs' expenditure. The Wintertons had declared their intentions to the Commons' Fees Office.[9] On 25 May 2009, it was announced that both the Wintertons would stand down as MPs at the following general election.[10] Winterton was one of 98 MPs who voted in favour of legislation which would have kept MPs expense details secret.[11]


  • Hames, Tim (2005). Times Guide to the House of Commons 2005. ISBN 978-0-00-721182-1.


  1. "Politics". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 26 May 2007.
  2. Beattie, Jason (6 May 2002). "No laughing matter as Tories kick out high-flyer". Scotsman. Edinburgh. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  3. France, Anthony (26 February 2004). "Howard sacks MP for cockle tragedy joke". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  4. "Cockler joke MP returns to Tories". BBC News. 31 March 2004. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  5. "Black peer and Tory grandee in race row". Birmingham Post. 24 April 2004. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  6. "Tories disown cockler joke". BBC News. 26 February 2004. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  7. "MP's article 'highly offensive'". BBC News. 26 September 2005. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  8. "British MP faces inquiry over racist remarks", DNA India, 28 September 2005
  9. Porter, Andrew (18 June 2008). "Conservative MPs Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton broke Commons expenses rules". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  10. "MP pair to step down at election". BBC News. 25 May 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  11. "How your MP voted on the FOI Bill". The Times. London. 20 May 2007.


Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Congleton
Succeeded by
Fiona Bruce