CURRIE, EDWINA (1946– ), British politician. Edwina Currie (née Cohen) was born and educated in Liverpool and then at Oxford and the London School of Economics. The daughter of Orthodox Jews, she served in Birmingham local politics and then as a Conservative member of Parliament from 1983 to 1997. Under Margaret Thatcher, she enjoyed a high profile career as under-secretary of state for health from 1986 to 1988, initiating many public and media campaigns on health matters. In December 1988 she was forced to resign from the government because of a safety scare when she unwisely declared that most of Britain's eggs were infected with salmonella. She then became a writer, producing such thrillers as The Ambassador (1999). Edwina Currie hit the national headlines in 2002 when she published her Diaries, 1987–92, which revealed that in the mid-1980s she had had a four-year affair with John Major (Britain's prime minister from 1990 to 1997) before he was a major political figure. Currie was defeated at the 1997 general election and has since become a well-known radio and television presenter. Major and Currie reportedly spent much of their time together discussing the Jews.
[William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.