Celebrity Big Brother: Amanda Barrie defends Ann Widdecombe over anti-LGBT views

Evicted Celebrity Big Brother contestant Amanda Barrie has lashed out at fans criticising Ann Widdecombe for expressing her anti-LGBT views.

The former Coronation Street actress, 82, claimed Ann “has the right” to talk about her opposition to gay rights on the reality show.

The comments come after she clashed with Courtney Act star Shane Jenek over the issue while in the house.

Amanda Barrie (Channel 5)

Amanda, who is married to a woman, told Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff: “Anybody has the right to say what they like, I think.

“I’m rather tired – it wasn’t just Ann that I’m defending. I defend the right that people should say what they think.

“And I’m so tired of people sticking labels over people’s heads, and they meet the label, not the person. And that’s what bothers me.”

Amanda Barrie (Channel 5)

Asked if she was concerned she might be judged by viewers for defending Ann, the actress replied: “No! I don’t judge Ann on her views, as long as she doesn’t inflict them on me.

“That’s the point. If she was inflicting them on me, then I would go, ‘eh’,” she said, miming a punch.

Shane J argued with Amanda and fellow housemate Wayne Sleep about Ann’s voting record on LGBT rights while inside the Elstree home.

During her time as an MP from 1987 until 2010, Ann vehemently opposed gay rights – voting to block them at every opportunity.

After the topic had been raised in Sunday’s show, Amanda said to Shane that any views Ann had about LGBT rights were irrelevant to liking her as a person.

“I think the gay rights thing is a bit dodgy quite frankly,” she said.

“I get on with Ann quite fine and I’m in a civil partnership.

Amanda and Ann (Photo: Channel 5)

“I don’t discuss it, I don’t discuss Catholicism. That’s it, full stop, I like her.”

Amanda continued, referencing her civil partnership with her partner, author Hillary Bonner.

“You think this is some sort of platform for gay rights or something and you’re not even in a civil partnership,” she said.

Amanda Barrie (Photo: Channel 5)

Shane responded by bringing up Ann’s voting record on LGBT issues, which has included opposing an equal age of consent, the Equality Act, same-sex adoption and civil partnerships.

Shane said: “Well to be fair, in 23 years of parliament she voted against every single pro-LGBT piece of legislation, which is your rights as a human being.”

Amanda replied: “It’s not my rights, it doesn’t affect me at all! I’m married.”

(Photo: Channel 5)

Shane was quick to respond by pointing out that she had benefited from LGBT rights.

They said: “Amanda you have these rights not due to people like Ann, but because of the people who stood up against Ann.”

Amanda then stated that she prefers to ‘take people as they are’ and that LGBT rights are not the only rights to be fought for.

(Photo: Channel 5)

She said: “When I got married, we didn’t ask for anyone’s acceptance. Every single person has taken it for who we are.

“It’s not all about gay rights, there are a lot of other rights going on.”

Shane agreed with Amanda and then moved the conversation towards Ann’s opposition on abortion.

(Photo: Channel 5)

Courtney and Ann have previously clashed during conversations about sexuality and gender before, most recently during Saturday’s episode as Ann rolled her eyes whilst Courtney and Wayne discussed sexuality. 

Amanda, best known for her role as Alma on ITV soap opera Coronation Street, came out as interested in women in a heartfelt admission in her autobiography, .

She spoke of how she was terrified to come out as bisexual due to the impact she believed it would have on her career.

Despite early expectations, Ann Widdecombe is favourite to win this year’s Celebrity Big Brother, overtaking Courtney Act.