Lib Dems slammed as ‘pro-pimp’ party

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Bren­dan Car­lin PO­LIT­I­CAL CORRESPONDENT

SIR Vince Ca­ble opened the Lib­eral Demo­crat con­fer­ence yes­ter­day to ac­cu­sa­tions that he leads a ‘pro-pimp’ party.

Fem­i­nist cam­paign­ers pick­eted the event in Brighton in protest at Lib Dem poli­cies on pros­ti­tu­tion and sex traf­fick­ing – and to op­pose the party’s aim of ‘de­crim­i­nal­is­ing’ the sex trade.

Pro­test­ers held ban­ners say­ing ‘Lib Dems for pornog­ra­phers’ and ‘Stigma does not kill pros­ti­tutes, men do’.

Dr Sasha Rakoff of the cam­paign group Not Buy­ing It said: ‘We are very con­cerned by the Lib Dem poli­cies which are pro-pimp, pro-traf­fick­ing.

‘They even think sex traf­fick­ing can be con­sen­sual. They are pro-pros­ti­tu­tion. They see pimps as busi­ness­men.’

In re­sponse, the party said: ‘Lib­eral Democrats will de­crim­i­nalise the sale and pur­chase of sex and the man­age­ment of sex work.’ They said this ap­proach would de­fend sex work­ers and al­low po­lice to fo­cus time and re­sources ‘on those groomed, forced or traf­ficked into the sex in­dus­try’.

The con­fer­ence opened with Sir Vince also fac­ing tough ques­tions over pro­pos­als to al­low non-MPs to stand as party leader, re­vealed by the MoS last month.

Party sources have made clear that Sir Vince, 75, in­tends to stand down be­fore the next Gen­eral Elec­tion – with spec­u­la­tion he will quit next year. There are cur­rently just 12 Lib Dem MPs.

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