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Saturday, 28 September, 2002, 07:09 GMT 08:09 UK
Currie: From Parliament to print
Edwina Currie
Currie had a 22-year career in public service
For the forthright Edwina Currie, the revelation that she had an affair with John Major, finishing two years before he became prime minister, is probably her most shocking 'scandal' to date.

The former health minister was until now best known for her 1988 declaration that most of Britain's egg production was infected with salmonella.

The ensuing row eventually triggered her own resignation. Nine years later she lost her seat in Parliament and the outspoken Liverpudlian turned to writing.

Her first novel, ironically entitled A Parliamentary Affair - a passionate tale of love and betrayal behind the scenes at Westminster - went straight into the best-seller lists in 1994.

Rising profile

On her own website she says the best advice she had when becoming an author was "Write what you know".

But despite the raunchy themes of novels, she had always denied having an affair while in office.

Now it seems her soon to be published diaries, which detail her liaison with Mr Major, will also fly off the shelves.

Mrs Currie began her working life as a teacher of economics and economic history after graduating from Oxford and London Universities.

She was also a tutor and lecturer for the Open University.

Currie the novelist
A Parliamentary Affair
This Honourable House
Chasing Men
A Woman's Place
She's Leaving Home
The Ambassador

She started her political life in 1975 when she became a Birmingham City Councillor and chairman of Central Birmingham Health Authority.

She was elected to Parliament in 1983 where her public profile rose rapidly, thanks in no small part to her highly-opinionated persona.

From 1985-86 she was parliamentary private secretary to Sir Keith Joseph, at the Department of Education and Science.

But it was during the period from 1986-1988 as a minister at the DHSS (later the Department of Health) when she unwittingly rose to fame.

Lost seat

She had already caused a storm talking of the eating habits of northerners, and appeared on TV at the start of the Aids scare, demonstrating how to put on a condom.

But her comments that most of the country's eggs contained the salmonella bacteria caused a storm.

When egg sales plummeted Mrs Currie was forced to resign.

Twenty-two years of public service later ended in 1997, when Mrs Currie lost her seat at the general election.

But having made her name, Mrs Currie ensured she remained in the public eye.

Phone-in

She turned her hand to writing and to date has penned six books, including the best-seller A Parliamentary Affair, published in 1994.

She also embarked on a career in broadcasting and currently fronts the popular Late Night Currie phone-in show on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Her broadcasting career also includes LBC and standing in for Jimmy Young on BBC Radio 2 as well as television presenter roles.

She formally separated from her first husband, Ray, in 1997 and married her second husband, John Jones, a retired detective, in 1999.


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