My Secret Life: Edwina Currie, 65, author

'I want to cuddle Boris Johnson'

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The Independent Online

My parents were… Scousers. Dad was a tailor with a workshop in Williamson Square in the centre of Liverpool. I used to go and eat my sandwiches with him and watch him making suits for sailors.

The household I grew up in… Our house in the middle of our street was a 1930s semi; my bedroom was at the back and I had my dad's bachelor bed.

When I was a child I wanted to be… a scientist. My heroine was Marie Curie.

If I could change one thing about myself… My asthma. [But] it was a useful friend when I was a child – it meant I didn't do sport! As long as I sat quietly in a corner reading a book, nobody minded.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at… growing roses. They have to be big, and heavily perfumed, and velvet-leafed so I can imagine I'm a fairy sleeping inside the petals.

You may not know it but I'm no good at… dancing. I love it, but I'm no good.

At night I dream of… almost anything except my husband – that is weird.

I wish I had never worn… a blue suit forever immortalised on TV in 1988. Tory blue, puffed sleeves, very fussy – it makes me look like the head of a Chinese New Year dragon.

What I see when I look in the mirror… My mother, but that's not really a problem. She made it to 93.

My house is… a cottage full of books.

My favourite work of art… I love The Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Vermeer. There's something so fresh and innocent about that maid.

My favourite building… The Palace of Westminster – how magnificently arrogant it is!

A book that changed me… Jane Eyre when I was eight. My aunty was a deputy headmistress and gave me proper books early on.

Movie heaven… George Clooney.

The last album I bought… Tideswell Male Voice Choir. I'm its president! I like to sit near the bass section – the sound of those deep male voices makes the hairs on my neck rise and quiver.

My greatest regret… Not persuading my colleagues that eggs were a problem – I persuaded the public, but my colleagues thought I was the problem. They were wrong.

My secret crush… Boris. I just want to cuddle him.

My real-life villains… People who make promises and don't keep them – starting with politicians, obviously, right through to workmen who don't turn up.

My five-year plan… To celebrate my 70th birthday with lots of friends and family, probably in a big tent somewhere.

What's the point? Make the most of what you've got, share it with others.

My life in six words… Not finished yet by any means.

A life in brief

Edwina Currie was born in 1946 in Liverpool. She studied at Oxford and LSE. In 1983, she was elected Conservative MP for South Derbyshire. She became a health minister in 1986 but resigned two years later following the salmonella-in-eggs controversy. She's published several works of fiction and non-fiction, most recently Volume II of her diaries, and is a regular presence on TV and radio. Currie is supporting the Red Tractor campaign to get young people cooking. She lives in Derbyshire with her husband