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Monday, 7 October, 2002, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Edwina's defence: What do you think?
Edwina Currie has spoken openly about her four-year affair with former Prime Minister John Major.

She told the BBC's Five Live Breakfast that in the light of their 1980s affair, she thought Mr Major's "back to basics" campaign for family values, which led to numerous ministerial resignations, was "evil".

She defended her decision to publish details of their affair saying "I can't quite see why it is damaging now".

Mr Major - who is in America- dodged questions from reporters about the affair.

The latest instalment of Mrs Currie's diaries, currently being serialised in The Times, reveals how the pair discussed their tryst and the prospect of her becoming Mr Major's personal aide during a late-night chat over gin and tonic at Downing Street.

She describes Mr Major as a "risk taker", her love for him and his blue underpants. She also details how the pair discussed God in the bath and alluded to a three-hour sex session.

What do you think of Edwina Currie's side of the story? Will you wait to hear Mr Major's side of the story before passing judgement?

This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Politics, power and sex have always gone together back further than recorded history. Sex has always been a political tool and it still is today whether it is used in the home, the workplace or in politics.
Thomas Jones, USA

When will politicians be judged for the legislation they pass; the policies they espouse and the economic benefit the country receives from their policies: rather than their sex lives? Who shares their sheets may be a concern to their spouse, but the rest of the country should worry about their policies. But of course, that doesn't sell nearly as well for the media.
StMonance, Canada


She just wanted to sell her book.

Carol, UK
Oh really - she just wanted to sell her book. She had to do something to make it interesting and she's getting what she wanted. Personally I couldn't care less - it happened years ago and changes nothing now.
Carol, UK

There's certainly no shortage of moralisers, both here on this page, and in the media in general. However, I would like to ask this: when it comes to money and/or sex, how many of us could claim, with our heads held high, that we would NEVER compromise our standards, whatever the financial stakes or whatever sexual temptation may be before us?
Jack Delawney, London

Why are we still talking about this lewd, repulsive woman? This country has an obsession with sex. No wonder with have so many single mothers, when even our politicians can brag and make money from their own infidelity, and it is so important it makes the evening news. We are being brainwashed into accepting immoral behaviour. For the sake of our children why don't the powerful media use its influence for the good?
Kenneth Douglas, Wales


It's only fair that Edwina should get the chance to earn some cash

Stephen B, UK
John Major has certainly made lots of money since 1997 trading on his fake "nice guy John" image. It's only fair that Edwina should get the chance to earn some cash putting her side of the story. Well done Edwina - you're a Good Egg.
Stephen B, UK

I always knew that John Major had more in common with Austin Powers than just the glasses!
KT, California, USA

The only gratifying thought to come from all of this is that after benefiting financially in the short term, which she surely will do, in the long term she will be morally bankrupt, which she is.
Patrick Bunn, Cyprus

Hypocrisy and politicians have one thing in common: ancient history. Who cares about the sexual prowess of has-been politico hacks. I want to know about garbage recycling policy. I guess I'm getting it.
James Tybourne, Scotland


Can we get Spitting Image to do a special?

Andy McCaughtrie, UK
Cynical ploy to sell more copies of her book and regain some of the prestige she lost over the egg debacle. Go home, Edwina, and stay there. It has made John Major look a little less grey, though! Can we get Spitting Image to do a special?.
Andy McCaughtrie, UK

What a good week for burying bad conferences this is turning out to be. Who needs spin doctors to distract the media from your party's woes when they're not even looking in your direction to start with?
LT, UK

Hari appears to admire Major for keeping his mouth shut. Does he admire Major for lying by omission? For having an affair? Why on earth shouldn't Edwina Currie publish the truth after a very respectable 14 years? Not for money. She would have earned millions if she had told the truth at a more lucrative time. She is not ranting around the place. She is not the first ex-politician and minister to publish her diary and memoirs. But she may be the first to have published them honestly. Why isn't he being castigated for his lies and deceit and corruption?
Ian, UK

Poor old Edwina my foot! Aren't the real victims here the associated partners and families of Major and Currie? Whilst Major's "Back to Basics" campaign now looks pretty hypocritical, you can't help feeling that the real reason for letting the cat out of the bag now is not to discredit the former PM but to boost sales of another trash book.
Steve, UK

I nearly choked on my coffee when I heard her in a TV interview try to claim she released this information as a service to the UK, what tosh. Has anyone spared a thought for her husband and family in this, I know she hasn't but surely they will be hurt as well.
Gerry, UK


She was quite right to tell her side of the story

Helen Aberdeen, Scotland
After Edwina Currie's interview with Trevor Macdonald I changed my mind entirely about her. She was quite right to tell her side of the story as she had allowed Major to be Prime Minister under false pretences and it was long overdue to set the record straight. Major always appeared to me to be totally arrogant but with an air of being ever so lily white. Now we know and good on her. He has done rather well out of being not too competent and obviously not too nice a person either.
Helen Aberdeen, Scotland

I am astounded by all the comments apparently condoning the affair. Has this country no morality any more. Has anybody considered how Norma must feel about it? Adultery is still one of the deadly sins, but of course the Commandments have been thrown in the bin in this so called enlightened society of ours. No wonder people from other societies and religions regard us and the West with so much contempt.
R Steward, Great Britain

I'm amazed that people are calling Edwina all sorts of names such as trollop but when Alan Clarke published his sexual exploits he was deemed to be a bit of a jack the lad. Edwina was right on with eggs and she is right to announce this.
Peter, UK

These revelations have probably confirmed to most people just what they think of most politicians. She was quite happy to use what ever means possible to further her political career and now her own publicity to sell her memoirs. Does she expect sympathy?
Charles Galloway, UK

Why don't the English behave like the French? It is all the pretence of "morals" and "being English and proper" that makes such normal indiscretions more acceptable elsewhere. Mitterand had a mistress and even a grown daughter from the relationship and people left then alone! If you have a large enough magnifying glass, or powerful searchlight, no single person (especially a politician) anywhere in world can come out spotless after close scrutiny into the past. Did anyone ever hear the famous phrase that outlines our being human -"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"?
Nii Aryee, Ghana

Who cares? Why does it matter now? There are much more important issues. NHS, Education, Transport, Police etc. Everything apparently failing and this gets an airing on the BBC - grow up!
Fay, England


Whatever Major did right or wrong at least he's keeping his mouth shut

Hari Kumar, UK
When will this no longer relevant woman stop her bitter ranting. She's obviously still very upset about the whole thing but is this the only interesting thing that happened in her life? No mention of anything else of any note, which suggests a very boring book. Whatever Major did right or wrong at least he's keeping his mouth shut.
Hari Kumar, UK

If Edwina has high moral ground then what was she doing having an affair with a married man. She wanted to use him to get up the ladder. She might make money from this but she will be remembered as Major's mistress.
Raj, UK

My thoughts go out to Norma Major. No one needs their husband's affair to be the talking point of the nation.
Lisa, England


His shame is that he was living a lie

Grace Sainsbury, England
Well done Edwina! Why should John Major retain a false image? His shame is that he was living a lie while trying to con the British public into believing his policies. He is guilty of a deceit he chose to continue. Why should Edwina lose out on the money-go-round when he's raking it in on the back of his high profile position? All the critics should face reality - there's no such thing as a private life. It's all a matter of personal perception.
Grace Sainsbury, England

It's all about money. While I agree that she would have made a lot more if she had confessed this during Major's stint in number 10 the fact remains that she will profit by this and that is clearly her motivation. All these comments about "setting the record straight" are rubbish. I don't think most people give a damn.
A Duncan, UK

I think John Major was driven to the back to basics campaign after four years with Edwina. Blimey, I would have been.
Malc, UK


Her silence was a disservice to the country

Ngozi Onwuka, UK
John Major and his family should appreciate and respect the fact that had Edwina spoken earlier, he would not have been PM. For this, I respect her, although her silence benefited Major, it was a disservice to the country.
Ngozi Onwuka, UK

She says that a man in her position would not have been treated so badly by the press and public. She may be right. But as a woman I could explain to her that the female of the species has always prided itself on having a higher level of compassion, decency and morality than that of the male sex. Edwina has done us all a grave disservice but mostly to herself.
C.FRY, UK

Top woman!! We need a few more like her in the Conservative party!
Charlie, UK

An affair with Ken Clarke would have been much more interesting, but Major! Why Edwina? Why?
Peter Barrett, Birmingham UK


It was funny for us who probably fancied her Mrs Robinson act a bit

Andy, UK
It was funny for about half an hour on Saturday for those of us who remember Major's complete lack of style and presence, and, yes, probably fancied her Mrs Robinson act a bit too, but it's not very interesting now.
Andy, UK

Neither she nor John Major behaved well in the first place but she has now positioned herself in the gutter while Major is at least behaving in a dignified fashion.
Karen, UK


There are far more important things happening in the world

Geoff Watson, England
What gives Edwina Currie the idea that the British public are the slightest bit interested in her sordid fumblings with John Major? There are far more important things happening in the world.
Geoff Watson, England

From across the big lake, this tempest looks like a staid British version of Clintonian lust. As with that affair, all one can say is - thank God someone is having a good time, at least some of the time.
Michael Murphy, USA

Do you think it possible she egged him on?
Mike Rose, UK


As political memoirs go, it's not exactly Churchill or Thatcher

Zoe, Wales
She's determined to get her money's worth out of this one, isn't she?! She revealed all, Mr Major gave his side, didn't deny it and said all the right things that a penitent husband should, but she keeps harping on about it. And so close to the publication of her book, too. What a co-incidence. The sad thing is, I fear that like the publicity for a bad movie, she has revealed all of the potentially interesting bits in the trailer. As political memoirs go, it's not exactly Churchill or Thatcher, is it?
Zoe, Wales

Who cares!?! The only thing it's done is put me off my breakfast while hearing about it!
Steve, UK

If Edwina Currie claims that money was not a motive for revealing her affair with John Major in her diaries, why doesn't she donate the proceeds from her book to charity?
Tim La Touche, Bath


Edwina had the guts to say that she didn't regret it and wasn't ashamed

Lesley, UK
I found it refreshing to hear an, albeit, ex-politician speaking so candidly and airing realistic views about morality even though they may not coincide with everyone's principles. The fact is that many, many people have affairs and continue to lead largely blameless and even good lives. Edwina had the guts to say that she didn't regret it and wasn't ashamed. For that I applaud her.
Lesley, UK

By publicising her affair, Edwina Currie has caused great upset to innocent people i.e. Norma Major and other members of the Major family. Worst of all, she has publicly humiliated Norma. The Major-Currie affair had been dead and buried for years, and should have been left that way.
Michael Franks, UK

From what I've read so far, Ms Currie seems to have written an honest and heartfelt account of what must have been a very painful time of her life. I think she has shown great courage in the way she has opened up her heart to the nation. Since when has honesty been a crime?
Archie Leach, Great Britain


Of course she will make money out of the revelations

Robert Hatch, England
I think Edwina Currie is just putting the records straight and exposing the blatant hypocrisy that is and always has been rife in politics. Of course she will make money out of the revelations but that to is only a reflection of the British public's predilection for examining other peoples' dirty laundry. You cannot blame her for that. I feel sorry that her husband and family have had some unfavourable remarks made about them in print but they are adults now and such is life unfortunately.
Robert Hatch, England

This is just hilarious. Why should anyone care? I don't believe the good of the country was jeopardised by these two normal people having a fling. John, you made a mistake... don't fret, everyone does. And surely it is far worse to mislead those that elected you than to commit indiscretions in your private life. I don't believe Major was any worse a PM than those before him or for that matter that which has succeeded him. Even Blair has described him as a 'good man' undermined by those around him.
A Campbell, France

I think the whole thing is a pathetic cry for attention and help; self-promotion at its worst. It's time she grew up and realised that no-one cares about her love life, or lack of it!
Ed, UK

Do we really care about what happened nearly 20 years ago? It is history and has no impact on the present. The people of the world will not benefit from the countless hours being devoted to this by the media
Jonathon D'Soiuza, UK


I'd stick to eggs, dear!

Rob Morris, UK
I feel quite sorry for John Major. First, he has the glare of publicity about the affair, brought about by Edwina THEN she says he didn't even end it! Poor chap. If it were me, I would say exactly the same as Major, that I was ashamed of what happened. The reason? I would want to go about saving my marriage. Sadly, for Edwina, this is probably the most exciting thing in her diaries. I'd stick to eggs, dear!
Rob Morris, UK

A blatant attempt to get free publicity for her forthcoming publication. Obviously her sales figures are more important than her dignity.
Tristan, Belgium

John Major was a fine Prime Minister who made this mistake. The real reason she has done it is not for a piece of history, but to sell more books and get more cash. David Mellor summed it up superbly
Ed Barham, England

I think that she is out of order and profiting from something that happened years ago. The only person that comes out good is Norma for sticking by Major.
Gordon, UK


She deserves to be condemned if only for her lack of dignity

Paul B, Oxfordshire, UK
We have no means of judging the veracity of her side of the story. What I can say is that her revelations are an aptly timed and thinly veiled search for publicity. She deserves to be condemned if only for her lack of dignity. There is no doubt in my mind that the prime love affair in the life of Edwina Currie always has been, and remains, Edwina Currie.
Paul B, Oxfordshire, UK

Listened to Currie on Radio 5 this morning. I felt she had an axe to grind, but made some fair comments about John Major's disastrous "back to basics". I think it's a storm in a teacup. No harm will come of it. It may even do John Major some good!
Robert Millner, Sheffield, UK

For some reason Edwina seems to be getting most of the blame for this affair. Weren't there two of them involved? Edwina has always been good value as a media personality but the truth is they were both MPs and living a lie. But what really makes me angry is that while John Major talked of going 'back to basics' it was just part of a Tory cover up.
John O'Sullivan, England


This is like Clinton and Monica Lewinsky- irrelevant to politics

K Henry, England
This is like Clinton and Monica Lewinsky- irrelevant to politics where hypocrisy makes the world go round (witness Labour MPs and private schooling for their kids). Currie should remember Lewinsky's treacherous friends made more out of it than she did, with much less personal damage. Aside from that it's basically hilarious for everyone else except the families.
K Henry, England

John Major was a fine Prime Minister who made this mistake. The real reason she has done it is not for a piece of history, but to sell more books and get more cash. David Mellor summed it up superbly
Ed Barham, England

I listened to Currie on Radio 5 this morning. I felt she had an axe to grind, but made some fair comments about John Major's disastrous "back to basics". I think it's a storm in a teacup. No harm will come of it. It may even do John Major some good!
Robert Millner, Sheffield, UK

I think she's a fool. She's deliberately undermining the credibility and respect of a man who selflessly devoted his life's work to serving the needs of his country - a task in which he succeeded, even if most of his cabinet did not. All she's ever done was cause massive damage to our egg industry. I fail to see what she's trying to achieve apart from earning a few fast bucks. Mr Major once dared his party members to "Put up or shut up" and Ms Currie should definitely have shut up.
Alex, UK

I could only take so much! To hear Edwina take the moral high ground when she was lauding at the same time that there was no shame in lies, betrayal and deceit left a very bad taste in my mouth.
Keith, UK

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"It does some good to set the picture straight"

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