In an interview with the Sunday Times, the former Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe – who herself was a contestant on the show in 2010 – said:
I don’t think it is what viewers of Strictly, especially families, are looking for. But that’s up to the audience and the programme.
This was met with a flurry of backlash, with people called the comments "harmful", "repulsive" and old-fashioned.
“If you’ve got a problem with Nicola Adams dancing with a woman on Strictly then it’s just that - *you’ve* got a problem and that problem is called homophobia,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Erm.....no Ann Widdecombe!! ‘Families’ do want to so don’t you dare try & generalise your disgraceful homophobic views onto the rest of us. Our family can’t wait see watch @bbcstrictly this year. Our kids were so excited to see @NicolaAdamsOBE & @Mrs_katjones paired,” another said.
“We shouldn’t expect any less from this proven homophobe. And the likes of Strictly and Channel 4 are partly to blame for legitimising her views by giving her platforms as some ‘national treasure’,” Declan Cashin tweeted.
“It's weird because i have literally never looked for ann widdecombe's opinion about anything and yet here she is,” Mollie Goodfellow added.