Whaley Bridge election battle looms between Ruth George and Edwina Currie

Former Conservative MP Edwina Currie is taking on Ruth George for the Whaley Bridge seat in May’s county council elections.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 12:30 pm

Edwina - who has lived in the town for nine years and was nominated this week - says “I think there’s every opportunity here”.

Ruth George, a fellow former MP for Labour in High Peak, took Whaley Bridge in a February by-election last year.

Mrs Currie, who was a junior Health Minister and South Derbyshire MP until 1997, told how she was roused back into politics while watching Joe Biden take on Donald Trump in December.

Former Conservative MP Edwina Currie is taking on Ruth George for the Whaley Bridge seat in May’s county council elections
Former Conservative MP Edwina Currie is taking on Ruth George for the Whaley Bridge seat in May’s county council elections

Describing Mr Biden as a “true hero” she said: “Watching him defeat Trump and do it enormously I thought I should be doing something more than just watching TV.”

Edwina, who was a Birmingham councillor for 11 years, says: “I want High Peak people to have the best life they can”.

Though she admits politics has changed during the last two decades – with social media spreading “misinformation” – she added: “I have fun on Twitter and Facebook but use both with care.”

Her late husband - former Met Police detective John Jones - who she described as “slightly naughty and very old fashioned” during a BBC interview, died in November last year.

Edwina in 2012 with Buxton Wells Dressings queen Lauren-May Lomas

“Gallant gentleman” John - who Edwina married in 2001 - died after a long battle with cancer.

Mother-of-two Edwina described how the couple were “really well looked after” by Blythe House Hospice, saying: “I want to make sure everyone gets the same quality of care at home during illness - especially terminal - as we did last year.”

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Speaking about her short-term goals Oxford chemistry graduate Edwina said she wanted to help businesses get back up and running post-Covid.

She said: “I’ve lived here for nine years in one of the oldest houses in Derbyshire, I walk these hills and I love my neighbours.

“There are loads of businesses badly-affected by Covid - mostly run by local people - which provide employment.

“I’m so keen to take people who have helped me out over the last year for a meal - with the money I've not been able to spend during lockdown hopefully I can take them for lunch and dinner.”

Edwina, who drives an “ancient” diesel Skoda, says one of her big ambitions is to see Derbyshire become a green county.

She said: “I've had solar panels on every property I’ve owned since 1983 and I’m really keen to see electric car charging points around the county.

“This is especially important in Derbyshire - we should be a green county and we should be proud to be a green county.”

Novelist and broadcaster Edwina said part of her green agenda was to push for better public transport and “getting people out of their cars”.

She said: “If I want to go by train to London I have to go to Manchester first, so I’d like to see better rail links.

“Services need to be better run, cleaner and not too expensive.”

Speaking about her chances of uprooting Ruth George from the Whaley Bridge seat during the May 6 elections, she said: “We shall see - it was a Conservative-held seat until last year.

“I think there’s every opportunity here.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.