Politicians on all sides are keen to voice their support for equality. Despite this, few are prepared to call-out readily available, hardcore pornography. Click Off know that there is a link between pornography and sexual abuse off-screen. Here’s our quick guide to how to raise the issue with your local prospective parliamentary candidates (PPC).
Question to Labour PPC
“How would you ensure that the provision of free broadband across the country didn’t result in increased use of pornography, increased exposure of children to pornography and increased violence against women and girls?”
Background – Free Broadband Pledge
On 15th November John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a commitment from the Labour Party “to deliver free full-fibre broadband to all by 2030.” During his speech he referenced the South Korean ‘Information Infrastructure project’ which has seen 98% of South Korea covered by full-fibre broadband. John McDonnell described this as forward-thinking and ambitious, but South Korea is in the grip of an epidemic of what has been termed a ‘spy cam porn epidemic’ with cameras routinely found in hotels, lavatories and changing rooms. This was just one unintended consequence of extending free broadband across the country. Production and possession of filmed child sexual abuse have also spiked since the full-fibre broadband roll-out.
In 2016 it was revealed Keith Vaz MP said he would ‘break’ two migrant male prostitutes, one of whom later revealed “No one wants to do this, to sell their body. It’s a shame, people are only doing this when they have to, when they don’t have a choice.”
Three years on and to date the Labour Party has not taken any formal action against Keith Vaz MP. Following a further report which found Vaz had agreed to procure cocaine for the male prostitutes, the standards committee found he “caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons.” Vaz will not be standing in the forthcoming election- Jeremy Corbyn praised his record as an MP.
Question to Conservative PPC
“Why did the Conservative-led government renege on the commitment to introduce age verification to protect children from pornography?”
Background – Age Verification Climb down
On Wednesday 16th October 2019, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Nicky Morgan MP, announced that the government would not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography. The commitment to introduce age verification was a ground breaking piece of legislation that would have sent out a clear message that pornography propagates hateful messages and that access to pornography should be restricted.
To date, no alternative has been proposed and there is no strategy to protect children, nor wider society, from the known harms of readily available online pornography.
Conservative MP Christopher Chope blocked the voyeurism (offences) bill on upskirting – the taking of surreptitious, sexually intrusive images.
A 2008 police raid on Damian Green MP’s Westminster office computer left Ex-Scotland Yard detective Neil Lewis “no doubt whatsoever” it had been amassed by the then MP.
Question to the Liberal Democrat PPC
“Given the extensive and well-documented harms of pornography, why have the Liberal Democrats consistently opposed all measures to curtail its influence?”
Background - Sex Industry Policy
When creating the 2017 policy document ‘A Rational Approach to Harm Reduction’ the Liberal Democrats sought advice from convicted sex trafficker Alexjandra Gil and Douglas Fox, the owner of one of Britain’s largest Escort Agencies. The policy boldly states that ‘transactional sex should be no different to sex.’
The Liberal Democrats opposed age verification on pornography and fought attempts to criminalise extreme pornography claimed that the “nature of the offence has a disproportionate impact on those engaging in BDSM scenes.”
The Liberal Democrats have prioritised the rights of pornographers, punters, pimps and BDSM practitioners above the interests of children and women who are disproportionately harmed when measures to curb the sex industry are removed.
In 2016 at the Liberal Democrat party conference Cllr and Chair of Cheltenham Liberal Democrats made the following comments:
“The fact that we are asking ‘should we seek to prevent people entering sex work?’ is part of the problem.
“You wouldn’t ask the question ‘should we prevent people becoming accountants?’ You’d just take it for granted.
“There is a stronger case, probably, for that than there is for preventing sex work.
“We have had a chap suggest that one of the areas we need to be concerned about was families coercing people to go into the sex trade.
“Well, again, you wouldn’t protest at families urging and coercing people into becoming accountants.”
Following criticism of these comments Dennis Parsons resigned as chair of Cheltenham Liberal Democrats, though he has not resigned from his position as a local councillor, the party and nor did he face sanction.
If you found this guidance useful and would like to support our work, please consider donating.