Page 1, 18th July 2003

18th July 2003
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Page 1, 18th July 2003 — Ann has new right to drive sheep drunkenly
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Ann has new right to drive sheep drunkenly

BY CHRISTINA FARRELL

AlKiwn=111.1.4,22—: IF YOU SEE someone engaging in a drunken brawl outside the Bank of England — while shouting "Do you know who I am?" — don't be too surprised if it turns out to be one of Britain's best loved and most controversial Catholic MPs.

Ann Widdecombe, Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, has been made a Freeman of the City of London, an ancient and prestigious title that brings with it some interesting rights.

Miss Widdecombe now has the right to be drunk and disorderly within the Square Mile without fear of arrest, she may also drive a flock of sheep over London Bridge and may, "if convicted of murder, choose to be hanged with a silk scarf'.

She was formally presented with the freedom of the City at a ceremony in the Chamberlain's court in the Guildhall, London last Tuesday.

She received her award by swearing an oath to protect the City and its subjects from intruders, She also had to give assurances that she wouldn't start any riots or fires.

The title is a medieval honour that historically allowed the recipient to trade goods within the City boundaries. Past recipients include Lord Horatio Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Nelson Mandela.

Mark Coote, director of development at the City of London School for Girls, said Miss Widdecombe was nominated for her involvement with and support to the City of London Freeman School in Ashstead Park.

"She has gone the extra mile for the City and the school," Mr Coote said. "She was very keen on the sheep connection as her constituency built its wealth on the wool trade. She did say she had a Women's Institute meeting in the afternoon and so wouldn't pursue being drunk and disorderly."

A spokesman for Miss Widdecombe said she was "very honoured to have been proposed and looked forward to driving sheep across the bridge".




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