Edwina Currie (née Cohen; born 13 October 1946) is a British former politician, serving as Conservative Party Member of Parliament from 1983 until 1997. She was a Junior Health Minister for two years, resigning in 1988 during the salmonella in eggs controversy.
By the time Currie lost her seat as an MP in 1997, she had begun a new career as a novelist and broadcaster. She is the author of six novels, and has also written four works of non fiction. In September 2002, publication of Currie's Diaries (1987–92) caused a sensation, as they revealed a four-year affair with colleague (and later Prime Minister) John Major between 1984 and 1988.
Currie in 2009
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health|
10 September 1986 – 16 December 1988
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Sec. of State||Norman Fowler|
|Preceded by||John Major|
|Succeeded by||Roger Freeman|
|Member of Parliament |
for South Derbyshire
9 June 1983 – 8 April 1997
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Succeeded by||Mark Todd|
13 October 1946
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
|Spouse(s)||Ray Currie (m. 1972–1997) |
John Jones (m. 2001)
|Residence||Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire|
|Alma mater||St. Anne's College, Oxford|
London School of Economics
Currie was born in south Liverpool to an Orthodox Jewish family, who "disowned her when she married a non-Jewish accountant." She is however not particularly religious, stating in an February 2000 interview that she found "religious mumbo jumbo hard to swallow in any faith." She went to the Liverpool Institute High School for Girls in Blackburne House, in the Canning area of Liverpool, where she was deputy Head Girl.
Currie studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St Anne's College, Oxford, where she was taught by Gabriele Taylor. She lived next door to Mary Archer, Ann Widdecombe, and Gyles Brandreth's wife Michèle Brown. Subsequently, she gained an MA in economic history from the London School of Economics.
From 1975 until 1986, she was a Birmingham City Councillor for Northfield. In 1983, she stood for parliament as a Conservative Party candidate, and was elected as the member for South Derbyshire. Frequently outspoken, she was described as "a virtually permanent fixture on the nation's TV screen saying something outrageous about just about anything" and "the most outspoken and sexually interested woman of her political generation."
In September 1986, she became a Junior Health Minister. Among her comments over the next two years were—despite her not being religious—that "good Christian people" don't get AIDS, that old people who couldn't afford their heating bills should wrap up warm in winter and that northerners die of "ignorance and chips".
In 1988, Currie appointed television personality Jimmy Savile to head up a task force to run the Broadmoor psychiatric hospital. Savile was given extraordinary power and a set of keys with complete access to every part of the hospital. He mingled repeatedly with the 800 or so patients, many teenage girls, some severely disturbed and medicated.
Currie was forced to resign in December 1988, after she issued a warning about salmonella in British eggs. The statement that "most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now affected with salmonella" sparked outrage among farmers and egg producers, and caused egg sales in the country to decline rapidly, by 60 percent. The controversy gained her the nickname "Eggwina".
The loss of revenue led to the slaughter of four million hens. Although the statement was widely interpreted as referring to "most eggs produced", in fact it related to the egg production flock; there was indeed evidence that a mid-1980s regulation change had allowed salmonella to get a hold in flocks. However, Currie failed to clarify this distinction.
There was particular anger in Northern Ireland where egg production is a significant part of the economy. At the Christmas party of the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland that year the featured dish was curried eggs. To make amends, in 1990, she began the National Egg Awareness Campaign.
Long after the furore died down, in 2001, it was revealed that a covered-up Whitehall report produced months after Currie's resignation found that there had been a "salmonella epidemic of considerable proportions."
In 1991, Currie became the first Conservative MP to appear on the BBC topical panel show Have I Got News for You. She appeared again two years later, in a special episode commemorating the release of Margaret Thatcher's memoirs, opposite fellow Liverpudlian (and Liverpool Institute alumnus) Derek Hatton.
During the 1992 General Election campaign, Currie poured a glass of orange juice over Labour's Peter Snape shortly after an edition of the Midlands based television debate show Central Weekend had finished airing. Speaking about the incident later, Currie said "I just looked at my orange juice, and looked at this man from which this stream of abuse was emanating, and thought 'I know how to shut you up.'"
In February 1994, she tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill to lower the age of consent for homosexual sexual acts to 16. This amendment was defeated by 307 votes to 280, although a subsequent amendment resulted in the reduction of the homosexual age of consent from 21 to 18; final equalisation was achieved in 2000. That same month, Currie voted against the death penalty for murder, having previously voted in favour of it in 1983.
In June 1994, she contested the European Parliament seat of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, but lost the seat to Labour's Eryl McNally by 94,837 votes to 61,628 votes. After fourteen years as a member of the House of Commons, Currie lost her parliamentary seat of South Derbyshire in the 1997 General Election. She attempted to be selected as a Conservative candidate for the European Parliament election of 1999, but was unsuccessful.
Currie is the author of six novels: A Parliamentary Affair (1994), A Woman's Place (1996) She's Leaving Home (1997), The Ambassador (1999), Chasing Men (2000) and This Honourable House (2001). She has also written four works of non-fiction: Life Lines (1989), What Women Want (1990), Three Line Quips (1992) and Diaries 1987–92 (2002). She remains an outspoken public figure, with a reputation for being "highly opinionated," and currently earns her living as an author and media personality.
From the time she lost her seat in 1997, Currie has maintained a presence in the media. From 1998 to 2003, she hosted a late evening talk show on BBC Radio Five Live, Late Night Currie. In 2002, she moved to HTV, presenting the television programme Currie Night until 2003. Since then, she has appeared in a string of reality television programmes, such as Wife Swap in which she and her second husband John swapped places with John McCririck and his wife, Jenny. Currie appeared on a charity edition of the television quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on 17 September 2005, partnering Conservative speech-writer and lobbyist Derek Laud. She has also appeared in the reality cooking show Hell's Kitchen with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, and Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, both in 2006.
Currie was interviewed about the rise of Thatcherism for the 2006 BBC TV documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory! She won Celebrity Mastermind on 23 June 2004, specialising in the life of Marie Curie. She also won All Star Family Fortunes on 3 January 2009. She appeared in Channel 4's Come Dine with Me in February 2009 where she finished third. She made a second appearance on the show during Channel 4's "Alternative Election Night" coverage, with Rod Liddle, Brian Paddick and Derek Hatton as her competitors. She also appeared in James May's Show James May's Toy Stories where she helped him build a bridge made entirely out of Meccano in Liverpool.
In September 2011, Currie took part in the ninth series of Strictly Come Dancing. She was paired with professional dancer Vincent Simone. On 9 October, she and Simone were the first couple to be eliminated from the competition.
On 1 July 1972, Edwina married accountant Ray Currie in Barnstaple, Devon; they had two children and divorced in 1997. During this marriage Edwina Currie had a four-year affair with John Major, later Prime Minister, which she revealed in September 2002. Edwina and Ray were the subject of an edition of the BBC's The Other Half documentary series, broadcast in March 1984.
Currie's Diaries (1987–92), published in 2002, caused a sensation, as they revealed a four-year affair with John Major between 1984 and 1988, while both were married to other people. The affair started while she was a backbencher and Major was the government whip in Margaret Thatcher's government. After Major's promotion to Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the relationship ended, but the two remained friends. Currie apparently ceased the affair when it became dangerous and impractical owing to the presence of bodyguards who had to be avoided.
After publication, Major made a statement saying that he was ashamed of the affair and had privately revealed the matter to his wife. Currie said she had been in love with him for years after the end of the affair, and that he had been "the love of her life". However, only weeks after revealing the affair, she publicly criticised Major, accusing him of sexism and racism and of being "one of the less competent prime ministers".
While having an affair with Major in October 1985, Currie said about Sara Keays, "I feel very sorry for Cecil and his family. Most of my thoughts on Sara Keays are unprintable. Perhaps the most polite thing to say is she's a right cow."
The admission came after years of denial of any affair while in office and a successful libel action against playwright David Hare, who had said a sexually voracious murderer played by Charlotte Rampling in his film Paris by Night (1988) was an "Edwina Currie-like" figure. Currie had also produced several novels with explicitly erotic content – and political background – such as A Parliamentary Affair. Following publication of her diaries, Express Newspapers lawyers re-examined documents in a libel case to see if there was anything in the diaries which would allow them to reopen the case and recoup damages. In March 2000, Currie had been awarded £30,000 against them following a 1997 article entitled "How Edwina is now the vilest lady in Britain."
In June 2005, in her role as a patron of the British Heart Foundation, Currie championed a campaign to raise awareness of the effect of heart disease on women. In May 2007, the patient charity MRSA Action UK announced Currie as their patron. Edwina Currie was quoted by the media championing the campaign against hospital superbugs.
In October 2011, Currie took part in EuroVoice, an event supported by the European Youth Parliament. In November 2011, Currie accepted the position of President of the Tideswell Male Voice Choir.
As part of the 2009 TV Show Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Currie teamed up with Declan Donnelly and two other celebrities to release a cover version of the Wham! hit song "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go." Her daughter, Debbie, had previously released a single.
|2009||Wake Me Up Before You Go Go||64||–|
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire
The 1997 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 1 May 1997, five years after the previous general election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. Under the leadership of Tony Blair, the Labour Party ended its eighteen-year spell in opposition and won the general election with a landslide victory, winning 418 seats, the most seats the party has ever held to date, and the highest proportion of seats held by any party in the post-war era. For the first time since 1931, the outgoing government lost more than half its parliamentary seats in an election.
The election saw a 10.0% swing from Conservative to Labour on a national turnout of 71%, and would be the last national vote where turnout exceeded 70% until the 2016 EU referendum nineteen years later. As a result Blair became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a position he held until his resignation on 27 June 2007.
Under Blair's leadership, the Labour Party had adopted a more centrist policy platform under the name 'New Labour'. This was seen as moving away from the traditionally more left-wing stance of the Labour Party. Labour made several campaign pledges such as the creation of a National Minimum Wage, devolution referendums for Scotland and Wales and promised greater economic competence than the Conservatives, who were unpopular following the events of Black Wednesday in 1992; from then until 1997, the party consistently trailed behind Labour in the opinion polls.
The Labour Party campaign was ultimately a success; the party returned an unprecedented 418 MPs, and began the first of three consecutive terms for Labour in government. However, 1997 was the last general election in which Labour had a net gain of seats until the snap 2017 general election 20 years later. A record number of women were elected to parliament, 120, of whom 101 were Labour MPs. This was in part thanks to Labour's policy of using all-women shortlists.
The Conservative Party was led by incumbent Prime Minister John Major and ran their campaign emphasising falling unemployment and a strong economic recovery following the early 1990s recession. However, a series of scandals, party division over the European Union, the events of Black Wednesday and a desire of the electorate for change after 18 years of Conservative rule all contributed to the Conservatives' worst defeat since 1906, with only 165 MPs elected to Westminster, as well as their lowest share of the vote since 1832.
The party was left with no seats whatsoever in Scotland or Wales, and many key Conservative politicians, including Defence Secretary Michael Portillo, Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, Trade Secretary Ian Lang, Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth and former ministers Edwina Currie, Norman Lamont, David Mellor and Neil Hamilton lost their parliamentary seats.
However, future Prime Minister Theresa May was elected to the safe Conservative seat of Maidenhead, and current Speaker John Bercow at Buckingham. Following the defeat, the Conservatives began their longest continuous spell in opposition in the history of the present day (post–Tamworth Manifesto) Conservative Party, and indeed the longest such spell for any incarnation of the Tories/Conservatives since the 1760s, lasting 13 years, including the whole of the 2000s. Throughout this period, their representation in the Commons remained consistently below 200 MPs.
The Liberal Democrats, under Paddy Ashdown, returned 46 MPs to parliament, the most for any third party since 1929 and more than double the number of seats it got in 1992, despite a drop in popular vote, in part due to tactical voting by anti-Conservative voters supporting it in lieu of Labour in areas where that party had little strength. The Scottish National Party (SNP) returned six MPs, double its total in 1992.
As with all general elections since the early 1950s, the results were broadcast live on the BBC; the presenters were David Dimbleby, Peter Snow and Jeremy Paxman.Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes (European Parliament constituency)
Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes was a constituency of the European Parliament located in the United Kingdom, electing one Member of the European Parliament by the first-past-the-post electoral system. Created in 1994 from parts of Cambridge and Bedfordshire North and Suffolk, it was abolished in 1999 on the adoption of proportional representation for European elections in the United Kingdom. It was succeeded by the East of England region.Beyond a Joke (2009 TV series)
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Biteback Publishing is a British publisher concentrating mainly on political titles. It was incorporated, as a private limited company with share capital, in 2009. It is jointly owned by its managing director Iain Dale and by Michael Ashcroft's Political Holdings Ltd, and has published several of Ashcroft's books including Call Me Dave, his controversial 2015 biography of David Cameron.Other titles include The Left's Jewish Problem (2016) and Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World (2017) by investigative journalist James Ball.Biteback's author roster includes Andrew Adonis, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Roger Bannister, John Bercow, Conrad Black, Gyles Brandreth, Elkie Brooks, Liam Byrne, Alastair Campbell, Chapman Pincher, Ann Clwyd, Michael Crick, Barry Cryer, Edwina Currie, David Davis, Angela Eagle, Nigel Farage, Norman Fowler, Paul Gambaccini, Charlotte Green, Peter Hain, Vince Hilaire, Ken Hom, Barbara Hosking, Lee Howey, John Hutton, Antony Jay, Stanley Johnson, Nigel Lawson, Oliver Letwin, Maureen Lipman, Caroline Lucas, Jonathan Lynn, Denis MacShane, Brian Mawhinney, Damian McBride, Michael Meacher, Austin Mitchell, Ron Moody, Bel Mooney, Jim Murphy, Airey Neave, Michael Nicholson, Jessye Norman, Isabel Oakeshott, David Owen, Matthew Parris, Priti Patel, Harvey Proctor, Vicky Pryce, Mike Read, Malcolm Rifkind, Geoffrey Robertson, Nick Ross, Andrew Sachs, Bernie Sanders, Gillian Shephard, Jacqui Smith, Michael Spicer, Sean Spicer, Elizabeth Truss, David Waddington, Nigel West and Michael Winner.
Around 20% of its sales are ebooks.Childwall
Childwall () is an affluent suburb of Liverpool, Merseyside, England and a Liverpool City Council Ward. Historically in Lancashire, it is located to the south of the city, bordered by Gateacre, Wavertree, Belle Vale, Broadgreen, Bowring Park and Mossley Hill. In 2008 the population was recorded as 14,085.Edwina
The name Edwina is the female version of the male name Edwin, which derives from Old English and means "rich friend." Edwin was a popular name until the time of the Norman Conquest, then fell out of favor until Victorian times.Gabriele Taylor
E. Gabriele Taylor (born 11 October 1927) is a British philosopher and university teacher. She was fellow and tutor in philosophy at St Anne's College, Oxford until her retirement in 1996. She notably taught the philosophers Roger Crisp and Constantine Sandis, and the politicians Edwina Currie and Danny Alexander. Since then she has continued work as a senior research fellow of the college, pursuing her own particular interests in ethics.Jake Quickenden
Jacob "Jake" Quickenden (born 3 September 1988) is an English singer and reality television personality. He was a contestant on the ninth and eleventh series of The X Factor in 2012 and 2014, before being runner-up in series 14 of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in December 2014. After taking part in I'm a Celebrity, Quickenden met Carl Fogarty's daughter, Danielle and they have been in a relationship since December 2014. In 2018, he won the tenth series of Dancing on Ice, where he was partnered with professional German figure skater Vanessa Bauer.
Quickenden was a lifeguard in his home town of Scunthorpe, alongside a career as semi-pro footballer.List of MPs elected in the 1983 United Kingdom general election
This is a list of Members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the 49th Parliament of the United Kingdom in the 1983 general election, held on 9 June 1983. This Parliament was dissolved in 1987.
Notable newcomers to the House of Commons included Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Michael Howard, Paddy Ashdown, Edwina Currie, Clare Short, Charles Kennedy, Peter Lilley, Jeremy Corbyn, Neil Hamilton, Colin Moynihan and Michael Fallon. Gerry Adams was also elected, but did not take his seat.List of Question Time episodes
The following is a list of episodes of Question Time, a British current affairs debate television programme broadcast by BBC Television.Liverpool Institute High School for Girls
Liverpool Institute High School for Girls, Blackburne Place, Liverpool, England, was a girls' grammar school that was established in 1844 and closed in 1984. It was situated off Hope St to the north-east of Liverpool Cathedral in the area close to the University of Liverpool and Catharine Street (A5039).Mark Todd (politician)
Mark Wainwright Todd (born 29 December 1954) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Derbyshire from 1997 to 2010.
Mark Todd became the Chairman of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in January 2014.Peak Literary Festival
The Peak Literary Festival is held in the Peak District National Park in England annually in the Spring and Autumn.Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000
The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 (c.44) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It changed the age of consent for male homosexual sexual activities (including anal sex) from 18 (or for some activities, 21) to that for heterosexual and lesbian sexual activities at 16, or 17 in Northern Ireland. It also introduced the new offence of 'having sexual intercourse or engaging in any other sexual activity with a person under 18 if in a position of trust in relation to that person'.
Lowering the homosexual age of consent had last been addressed by Parliament in 1994, when the then Conservative MP Edwina Currie proposed an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill to lower the age of consent to sixteen years. Even though over forty Tory MPs joined Currie, the measure was lost by twenty-seven votes. Immediately afterwards, MPs agreed on division (427 to 162) to reduce the age of consent for homosexual sexual activities to eighteen. The election of a Labour Government in 1997 afforded Parliament a further opportunity to examine the issue.
In 1996, the European Court of Human Rights heard Morris v. The United Kingdom and Sutherland v. the United Kingdom, cases brought by Chris Morris and Euan Sutherland challenging the inequality inherent in divided ages of consent. The government stated its intention to legislate to negate the court cases, which were put on hold.
Ann Keen, a Labour MP, introduced an amendment to Crime and Disorder Bill in 1998, and this was carried by a majority of 207 in the House of Commons. The amendment was then removed by the House of Lords by a majority of 168. Not wishing to lose the whole bill, the government allowed the issue to be dropped.
Later in the year, the government reintroduced the measure in what eventually became this Act. It once again sailed through the House of Commons by a majority of 183 on 25 January 1999, but was again blocked in the House of Lords after a concerted campaign by Conservative peer Baroness Young. The government once again re-introduced the measure, this time threatening to invoke the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949.
After the bill once again sailed through the House of Commons before being rejected by the House of Lords, the government carried through its threat and on 30 November 2000, Speaker Michael Martin announced the passage of the Act. It received Royal Assent a few hours later.
This Act was effectively superseded in England and Wales by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which repealed most of its provisions as they applied to England and Wales. The new Act which consolidated most previous sexual offences legislation maintained the decriminalisation that had been achieved in this Act.
This fact became significant in the wake of passage of the Hunting Act 2004 which was also passed using the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949. The passage of that Act was challenged in court on the basis that the Parliament Act 1949 itself had been unlawfully passed. If the latter point were true, then the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 would also be invalid, though the point would be moot since the provisions had been consolidated in legislation not passed under the Parliament Acts. The challenge to the Hunting Act was ultimately unsuccessful.South Derbyshire (UK Parliament constituency)
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Critical reaction to The Luvvies was generally negative. Writing about the 2004 awards, Frances Traynor of the Daily Record summarised the ceremony as "the show viewers really don't want to watch" and noted that "even Rhona Cameron looked bored". TV critic Charlie Brooker was particularly scathing, writing that the awards had "enraged" him and that "harassing the heartbroken for funnies is disgraceful". Cameron argued that "the key to accepting a Luvvie is not to take yourself too seriously", and said that if she were presented with a Luvvie she would "welcome it with open arms – otherwise you might look a bit po-faced and silly".Vincent Simone
Vincent Simone (born 15 March 1979) is a professional dancer born in Italy, who has appeared as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing from 2006 until 2012. He moved to Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom when he was 17. Simone and professional partner Flavia Cacace perform under the brand name Vincent and Flavia.