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LINDSAY BRUCE: Pornography isn’t funny, in or out of the Commons

Pornography is no longer the taboo subject it once was. Photo: Shutterstock.
Pornography is no longer the taboo subject it once was. Photo: Shutterstock.

Porn in the House of Commons.

A frontbencher, a minister, a person with responsibility for governing our country was watching pornography, while sat next to a female MP who saw it. In the chamber.

I’m saying it out loud because I think maybe THIS is a new low.

This, in the same week the Prime Minister said he would unleash the ‘terrors of the earth’ against whoever allegedly made the misogynistic, sexist and downright classist comments about Shadow Chancellor Labour MP Angela Rayner that were printed in a national newspaper.

And all this running alongside claims that three members of Boris Johnson’s team and two from Sir Keir Starmer’s are facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

Cards on the table, I deplore porn and all the industry stands for.

It’s not the celebration of sexuality, or women, that’s it’s often touted to be.

And being exposed to porn – without consent and in the House of Commons – is a whole ‘nother atrocity.

But the response to this week’s allegations suggests there are plenty of folk who think it’s all just a bit of a laugh.

You couldn’t move on Twitter for “hilarious” memes on Wednesday night.

And when asked about the claims, one MP joked he couldn’t even get a wi-fi signal.

Porn is out in the open – and changing the way we think about sex

It’s fair to say the formerly secretive and under-protective-covered content has long since lost its taboo.

Angela Rayner MP spoke to Lorraine Kelly this week after a Mail on Sunday story accused her of distracting Boris Johnson by crossing and uncrossing her legs. Photo: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock.

We know it’s not just consumed by men, for example.

And it’s more widely available than ever thanks to technology and hand-held devices.

Previous research suggests there have been tens of thousands of attempts to access pornographic websites from parliamentary computers.

The Priory offers support on pornography addiction.

And gone are the days when your only chance of seeing anything even slightly risque was to steal it from your dad, or find it in a bush on the way to school.

A recent report stated that by the age of seven or eight, children will have seen pornography.

And as a mother of boys, it has certainly brought up awkward discussions for me.

Writing in the Times Educational Supplement in 2012,  teacher Chloe Combi said teenage boys in her class no longer realised pubic hair was a thing, since their reference point was pornography where the models are shaved and waxed to within an inch of their lives.

In a recent survey carried out by Dignify 55% of 1,000 14-18 year-olds said they had seen porn, and 32% admitted to “acting it out.”

Was House of Common porn act a cry for help?

We now understand that many of the people in this industry will have been exploited, even trafficked, into it, so I really don’t want to hear about female empowerment.

But hey, why not watch some porn, next to a woman, while you’re at your work?

It’s not as if we are facing the biggest cost of living crisis in living memory or working to help thousands of families flee war-torn Ukraine or anything.

If the rumours are true, this incident in the House of Commons can’t have been accidental. It’s a televised, close quarter chamber.

And that makes it inappropriate at best, and abusive at worst.

So I hope this is a case of a desperate person suffering from an addiction. Doing something in a public place as a cry for help.

And I hope it becomes a trigger for a wider discussion on the availability of porn and the harm it’s causing.

But spare me the jokes because I really don’t find any of this funny.


LINDSAY BRUCE: I dealt with cancer alone while Boris Johnson partied – you bet I’m angry

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