Gay rights pioneer Edwina Currie for I’m A Celebrity

Nick Duffy November 16, 2014
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Former Conservative minister Edwina Currie, who pioneered attempts for an equal age of consent, has signed up to appear on I’m A Celebrity.

ITV is reporting that the former Health minister – who famously had an affair with John Major – has signed on at the last minute to appear on this year’s series.

The former MP for South Derbyshire fronted a 1994 backbench push to equalise the age of consent, but was narrowly defeated by a vote of 307 votes to 28 – though the age was successfully lowered from 21 to 18.

She recounted for PinkNews earlier this year: “No Minister would touch any such amendment; an impending case at the European Court of Human Rights involving three courageous young men would take ages, and anyway any decision could be ignored.

“It had to be back-benchers. As a Jewish Scouse female, I knew enough about discrimination and could never see the justification for it.

“We lost by 27 votes… It’s often forgotten that the age of consent was changed that night to 18 by a thumping majority of 252. Moreover, the atmosphere had been altered forever.

“We went on to work for gays in the military and won a famous case for them with hefty compensation.

“Equality is the only worthwhile and sustainable position. No compromises will satisfy those people whom they affect. There is no such thing as partial equality; people are either equal or they are not.”

She joked: “There are still pubs in Brighton where they won’t let me pay for a drink.”

She was unseated as an MP in 1997, when Tony Blair took power.

Edwina Currie has previously claimed that the Queen Mother “was always supportive of gay rights”.

ITV, which airs the show, said: “Former Conservative minister Edwina Currie will be a late arrival in the I’m A Celebrity jungle and the 68-year-old is expected to shake things up among the other contestants.”

The reality series starts tonight at 9pm on ITV1.

More: age of consent, Ant and Dec, Conservative, Edwina Currie, England, Gay, I'm a Celebrity, legislation, mp, pioneer, Rights, Tory

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