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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Major and Currie to break cover
Edwina Currie
Disappointed she did not get a job in Major government
John Major and his ex-lover Edwina Currie are separately preparing to break cover on Wednesday following the revelations about their affair.

The former Tory prime minister is giving a speech in Texas in aid of Mercy Ships, a charity using hospital ships to help the world's poor.


I wish my flat was filled with one big man in his blue underpants

Edwina Currie
Back in the UK, Mrs Currie will be publicising the launch of her diaries, which detail the couple's four-year illicit liaison between 1984 and 1988, during media interviews.

It will be the first time the pair have appeared in public since the disclosure of their affair on Saturday.

The latest tranche 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.

Bathing buddies

Mrs Currie, a former health minister, speaks bitterly about how Mr Major failed to give her a job in his government.

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.

The reference to the underpants gives a new lease of life to the image created by Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell who drew the former PM wearing his Y-fronts outside his suit.

John and Norma Major
Norma Major will appear with her husband in America
The caricature came into being following reports that Mr Major had been seen with his shirt tucked into his underpants during a trip abroad.

Mr Bell is joyful at the chance of being able to resurrect the underpants after a five-year break.

"It has made me realise, however, that I'm very glad that I don't have to draw underpants almost every day, as I was accustomed to back in the glory days of Major's rule," he said.

"I had forgotten quite how laborious it was to draw all those rows and rows of dots in those accursed nether garments."

Love hurts

In the latest extract of her diaries, which cover November 1990 to March 1992, Mrs Currie ponders whether she will ever reveal her affair with Mr Major, who she codenames B.

"I was B's mistress for four years and the only people who know that are the two of us," she writes.

"I loved him very dearly, and I still do, and always will - and it hurts every time I see him on TV, or even now as I think about him and worry about him.

"I doubt if anyone would believe me if I told them, and what good would it do?"

'Three hours' exercise'

Speaking of her loneliness in January 1991, she says: "I wish my flat was filled with one big man in his blue underpants.

"I wish I was warm and sticky and laughing, and I wish I wanted the evening to last a long while, so we can talk (he can talk, I can listen). I can't make a joke of it. I haven't been drinking, but I'm deep in the black hole tonight and there is no-one else in it here with me."

A month later, Mrs Currie decides to tell the then social security secretary Tony Newton about the affair and says Mr Major "likes taking a risk".


He looked and sounded as if he needed some pillow talk, just as I do

Edwina Currie
In her diary, she recalls Mr Major telling her that he nearly died in a car crash in Nigeria, saying "if I do more than a few minutes' walking, my knee blows up like a balloon".

Mrs Currie chips in: "He managed three hours' exercise without trouble to my certain knowledge."

'Alone and sorry'

Later, during a conversation about religion, she says: "And the most extraordinary moment was in the bath when he asked if I believed in God. 'Yes,' I said, 'but not in all the ritual. I had that stuffed down my throat as a child'.

"He nodded and patted my back as if satisfied, as if he'd been asking himself the question a long time and had found a satisfactory formula; we were like teenagers exploring the world together."

Mrs Currie said it was "heartbreaking to have lost him so completely".

"I feel so alone and sorry for myself. Having a capacity for great love, and for enabling someone to enjoy it, too, it seems such a waste, so atrophied."

Personal aide

During drinks at the prime minister's flat in Downing Street in March 1992, Mrs Currie says she suggested a number of jobs she could do.

"But I suggested being in charge of candidates, as they are terrible - and being his PPS (parliamentary private secretary), which brought a light to his eye.

He looked and sounded as if he needed some pillow talk, just as I do

Edwina Currie

"I should have said 'party chairman' as that would bring a place in Cabinet too.

"Was I interested in writing parts of his speeches, he asked? Of course, said I, you should have asked earlier..."

As they moved to the door, she said: "And he looked and sounded as if he needed some pillow talk, just as I do."

Referring to their affair: "'How long is it?' he asked. '1988,' I answered, and faltered a bit. 'I can't believe it is such a long time ago,' he said. Neither can I, John - it feels like yesterday."

She finishes the section with a poem, saying how her husband Ray and daughter could not "meet my expectations" and how Mr Major "is letting us all down".

Mr Major, along with his wife Norma, is a patron of Mercy Ships, and was booked to address the invitation-only dinner in Dallas before his affair came to light.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"If Scallywag knew about the affair with Edwina then the outcome would have been different"
The Guardian's Simon Hoggart
"The magical ingredients in these liaisons are politics and power"
Former press secretary to John Major, Sheila Gunn
"I think she's demeaning herself"

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