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Edwina Currie, a former health minister, once said ‘good Christian people’ don’t get AIDS. Now she’s on TV giving coronavirus advice

Josh Milton May 12, 2020
Former Conservative Party lawmaker Edwina Currie sparred with Good Morning Britain hosts over coronavirus guidelines. (Screen capture via ITV)

Former Conservative Party lawmaker Edwina Currie sparred with Good Morning Britain hosts over coronavirus guidelines. (Screen capture via ITV)

Edwina Currie, the former British Conservative Party politician, clashed Tuesday morning with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid over government advice on the coronavirus, one of the most seismic public health crises to ever pelt the nation.

Currie appeared on Good Morning Britain via video uplink and accused Morgan and Reid of failing to read the government’s plan properly and not having “British common sense”.

Premier Boris Johnson suffered an avalanche of criticism after his, critics say, bungled and unclear broadcast last Sunday. This included confusion caused by his softened marketing slogan – “Stay Alert” – as well as how ministers offered conflicting advice the following Monday.

Indeed, Currie, who is a wellspring of “British common sense” and has a truly notable reputation on issuing advice fully grounded in evidence.

Serving as junior health minister under the Thatcher administration, she helped offer the country blueprints for making it through the throes of the AIDS crisis.

One example of this is when she said in 1986: “Good Christian people who wouldn’t dream of misbehaving will not catch AIDS.”

Ah, yes, a statement grounded by facts and science, yes. British common sense.

Former health minister once said ‘good Christian people will not catch AIDS’.

Currie also suggested during cabinet talks on how to define “promiscuous”, recalled “her student days, [believing] it meant more than five a year,” BBC News reported.

Uh.

Her often outspoken comments made her a lightning rod for controversy in the late 1980s. Currie was branded as callous and patronising for her suggesting that the elderly Britons unable to budget for the heating bills should simply wear long-johns to stay warmer.

The then MP for south Derbyshire also suggested that northerners were dying of “ignorance and chips”.

And, of course, the time she provoked outrage from the country’s egg producers after claiming that eggs in Britain are infected with the salmonella bacteria in 1988. Department of Health officials were unable to provide evidence for her claims at the time.

She weathered criticism until – against a backdrop of plummeting egg sales – Currie resigned in December 1988.

What did Edwina Currie say on Good Morning Britain?

After, Morgan claimed, all Conservative MPs denied their interview invitations for the past 10 working days, Currie agreed to appear on the show and dispel any confusion around the guidelines.

But it quickly became a fierce spat, and Currie sparred with Reid and Morgan. She made the stinging accusation that Reid hadn’t read the government’s 50-page coronavirus plan.

Reid evoked the nation’s confusion over the, at times, conflicting government guidelines. Explaining that, from Wednesday, people unable to work from home will be asked to clock-back in and, as a result, see their colleagues on the daily.

Yet, she added: “Isn’t it common sense that if I can see a colleague at work, I can see a member of my family, or a couple of members of my family, outdoors, in a park?”

Edwina Currie, who also campaigned to lower the age of consent in 1994, shot back: “Well, Susanna the way you’ve phrased that question to me tells me you haven’t actually read the government’s 50-page document revealing its plan.”

“Well, can I stop you there,” Susanna shot back. “Because I have read every word and every page of the government’s 50-page plan.”

As the trio squabbled, Morgan added: “You say it makes common sense, why can I have a cleaner come in but neither of my two sons can?”

“Because your cleaner is supposed to be cleaning and making it a healthier place,” Currie argued.

But Morgan hit back: “One of my sons is a great cleaner, so why can’t he do that?”

In unravelling Currie’s logic, she added that she “would’ve thought” that if Morgan’s son came to his home to clean, that would be acceptable under the guidelines.

“You just applied your common sense and that’s completely against the rules – you’re talking a load of flannel,” Morgan replied.

More: aids crisis, Coronavirus, Edwina Currie, Margaret Thatcher, piers morgan, This Morning

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