Edwina Currie facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Currie in 2009
|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health|
10 September 1986 – 16 December 1988
|Prime Minister||Margaret Thatcher|
|Preceded by||John Major|
|Succeeded by||Roger Freeman|
|Member of Parliament
for South Derbyshire
9 June 1983 – 8 April 1997
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Mark Todd|
13 October 1946
|Residence(s)||Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, England|
Edwina Currie (née Cohen; born 13 October 1946) is a British writer, broadcaster and former politician, serving as Conservative Party Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire 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. Currie’s record as Junior Health Minister was heavily scrutinised in the 2010s, and to a lesser extent at the time, for her close relationship with Jimmy Savile.
She remains an outspoken public figure, with a reputation for being "highly opinionated," and currently earns her living as an author and media personality.
Currie was born in south Liverpool to an Orthodox Jewish family, who "disowned her when she married a non-Jewish accountant". She herself is not particularly religious, stating in a 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. 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 [...] 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 could not afford their heating bills should wrap up warm in winter and that northerners die of "ignorance and chips".
Post-ministerial career as an MP
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.
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. Currie was MP for South Derbyshire for 14 years; however, along with many other Tory MPs, she lost her parliamentary seat in the 1997 general election.
Currie attempted to be selected as a Conservative candidate for the European Parliament election of 1999, but was unsuccessful.
After nearly a quarter of a century away from politics, it was announced in February 2021 that Currie would contest her home ward of Whaley Bridge on Derbyshire County Council at that year's local elections. She was challenging the incumbent, Ruth George of the Labour Party. The race was notable for pitting two former MPs against one another in an election for a council seat. On 7 May, it was announced that Currie had failed in her bid to win the marginal seat, receiving only 1,878 votes to George's 2,544.
In 2022 Currie described Liz Truss as "charmless, graceless, brainless, and useless".
Currie has written 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).
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 5 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 was the first woman to win 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.
In November 2014, Currie took part in the fourteenth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! entering the jungle on Day 5 of the competition, and finishing in fourth place. In 2020, she trekked the Sultans Trail for BBC Two's Pilgrimage: Road to Istanbul.
On 1 July 1972, Edwina married accountant Ray Currie in Barnstaple, Devon. They had two children, Debbie and Susie. Currie and her husband separated in 1997, but did not finalise their divorce until 2001. During that marriage, 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.
On 24 May 2001, in Southwark, Currie married retired detective John Jones, whom she had met when he was a guest on her radio programme in 1999. Jones died on 1 November 2020.
Currie lives in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire.
Charity and other interests
In September 2004, Currie took part in a sponsored cycle ride across Poland, near to the area where ancestors of hers lived, for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
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.
In February 2013, Currie participated in an Oxford Union debate, saying she opposed feminism.
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||–|
Edwina Currie Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.