Gay rights pioneer Edwina Currie joins I’m A Celebrity

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Former Conservative minister Edwina Currie, who pioneered attempts for an equal age of consent, has entered the jungle on I’m A Celebrity.

The former Health minister – who famously had an affair with John Major – reportedly signed on at the last minute to appear on the reality series, and was a late entrant to the jungle during Thursday night’s show.

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.

Explaining her decision to go on the show, she told the Mirror: “I’m 68 and if you stop having adventures, you die.

“I’m happy to have an adventure in the jungle. Plus, I think there should be more older people on TV. If I really believed that – and I do – then I should not turn down any opportunities when they turn up.

“Plus, we need a new extension and this would pay for it – just about. We could have wrought iron balconies and everything now.”

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”.