I wouldn't worry about the press Jacqui,
but Harriet and your man hating mates
aren't going to be very pleased
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's political future was in jeopardy after it was revealed that her husband used her Commons expenses allowance to pay to watch softcore pornographic films.
Richard Timney, who works as Smith's Commons adviser, used part of the Minister's second-homes allowance to pay for the not so blue movies he watched on a subscription television channel.
Tory MP Philip Davies said last night that if the porn-movie claims were true, the Home Secretary would have to resign: Claiming that her sister's back bedroom is her main home is one thing but this could push her over the cliff. It is surely not
legitimate to use Commons' second-home allowances to buy blue movies. If this is true, I cannot see how she can survive.
Just three months ago, The Mail on Sunday revealed that Timney – who is paid £40,000 of public money a year as Smith's to run her Redditch constituency office – was behind a letter-writing campaign defending the Government in her local paper.
Timney had a series of letters published in the Redditch Advertiser backing Smith's identity card plans and attacking the Tories over schools, without revealing that he was married to the woman responsible for the policies.
The ACA allows MPs to claim for television subscriptions at their second home. Last year, under freedom of information requests, it emerged that Gordon Brown claimed for a Sky TV subscription and television licence.
Clair Lewis, national convenor for Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN), today reflected on the irony of Jacqui Smith being caught out over
the porn habits of her own husband and issued an invitation to the Home Secretary and her husband to sign up to CAAN's statement of aims. This endorses the right of individuals not to be pilloried for legitimate sexual activity between adults.
CAAN statement of aims:
We believe in the right of consenting adults to make their own sexual choices, in respect of what they do, see and enjoy alone or with other consenting adults, unhindered and unfettered by government.
We believe that it is not the business of government to intrude into the sex lives of consenting adults.
Clair Lewis said:
It is ironic that Jacqui Smith, who has done more than almost any other politician to meddle in the private sex lives of consenting adults, should be placed in this position. We would hesitate to suggest it was richly deserved.
If public money has been misused, then Ms Smith and her husband must face the consequences: however, the sexual focus, whilst no doubt titillating, is really not relevant.
CAAN works to protect consenting adults from having their lives wrecked by this type of press voyeurism.
We shall therefore be contacting Richard Timney - and also his wife - to see if they would now agree that what adults get up to in the privacy of their own bedrooms is not the business of either government or an over-intrusive press, and whether they
would now be prepared to sign up to our statement of aims on this issue.
Jacqui Smith's work pushing through anti-porn laws has been highlighted now she is embroiled in a scandal
involving adult movies.
Ben Westwood, who campaigned against the introduction of Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 banning 'extreme' pornography, said today: This proves that censorship and restriction of individual liberties in England is occurring
because of members of the government's personal hang-ups.
The focus comes as the home secretary faces calls for her resignation over her husband's use of public money to pay for blue movies.
The oldest son of Dame Vivienne Westwood accused Jacqui Smith of embarking on a crusade on the sex industry, which, he said: is not to protect people but to protect herself.
Bookmakers today made Ms Smith odds-on to be out of her job by the end of the year.
This Labour puritan's restriction of individual freedom has been so that she can restrict her own husband, Westwood added: She has attacked prostitution, lap-dancing clubs and pornography in her role as home secretary, and now we know why.
Peter Stringfellow calls for a chat about Jacqui Smith, which cannot bode well for the beleaguered Home Secretary. Does she have the moral authority, he asks, to pilot through legislation proposing stricter rules for lap-dancing establishments?
She said it was ‘bizarre' for City firms to take clients to clubs where women take their clothes off yet she is personally pushing this legislation. I don't mind her putting a couple of porno films through on the taxpayers' bill but I do think it is
Generously, he says that Mrs Smith is welcome to “park” her husband, Richard Timney, in his West End “gentleman's club” while she attends to Commons business. As long as it's not claimed on expenses. The bill might add up to a little more than
The old one's are the best!
"You've got nothing to fear...
...if you've got nothing to hide"
There is a marvellous irony about the fact that, last week, MPs discovered just how embarrassing it can be when private information reaches the public domain. First up was the home secretary, pale-faced and tight-lipped after the
revelation that her husband had been renting pornographic films at our expense. Overnight, Jacqui Smith had lost dignity and everyone felt free to comment and jeer about the couple’s attractiveness, sex lives and the state of their marriage. The rest of
her expense claims provided more material for outrage or mockery; whether she was claiming for an extremely expensive sink (£550) or an extremely cheap bath plug (88p), it was hard to avoid the impression of a senior politician milking the taxpayer
in an unseemly and avaricious fashion and looking considerably diminished as a result.
Some MPs privately found her discomfort funny, but the next day the rest of the Commons was faced with the possibility that embarrassing claims of their own were about to surface. It turned out that the details of every MP’s expenses had been copied and
leaked and were on sale to the media for an asking price of £300,000. The claims had been due to be published officially in the summer, but only after every member had had the chance to delete any details they wished to keep private. The bad news
was that both the original and edited versions were now on sale, potentially allowing the rest of us to discover just what nervous MPs didn’t want us to know.
Parliament’s indignation at this breach of security would have been funny if it weren’t for the fact that these are the very people who have voted for massive state intrusion on, and information gathering about, the rest of us.
All along we have been assured that we needn’t worry about leaks and that the security of our information won’t be compromised. Last week we saw that the state can’t even guarantee the privacy of a few hundred lawmakers, let alone their 60m constituents.
S hock, horror! Home Secretary's Husband Watches Porn Movies! Government On Brink.
I'm sorry, but I can't get too worked up about this story. So what if Richard Timney watched a couple of blue movies at his home in Redditch last year? Is it really the end of civilisation as we know it?
Yes, it was wrong of Jacqui Smith to claim these films on expenses, but that is not really the issue here. Would people be equally outraged if the films in question had been The Sound Of Music and Ring Of Bright Water ? I doubt it. It is
the fact that these were adult films that has caused all the fuss.
But what is so terrible about looking at pictures of naked women? The truth is that most men will have taken a peek at pornography at some point in their lives and, contrary to popular opinion, it hasn't instantly transformed us into dirty raincoat
For the vast majority of us, it is just a bit of fun, an escapist fantasy that is no more harmful than watching a James Bond movie.
Don't misunderstand me. Where women have been coerced into taking their clothes off or appearing in pornographic films, that is clearly wrong and we should do everything in our power to stop it.
But anyone who thinks that such practices are common in the adult entertainment industry simply doesn't know what they're talking about. Believe it or not, 99.9% of women who have sex in front of a camera do so of their own free will. They are not being
rounded up by gangs of white slavers and forced to perform degrading acts. On the contrary, it is a choice on their part, not least because they can earn good money.
I decided to subscribe to a similar 3-in-1 package to the Home Secretary's husband: Playboy TV, the Adult Channel and Spice Extreme. (Playboy TV's website, quick to capitalise on the recent unexpected attention, has this to say
yesterday: 'We'd like to offer all MPs and their husbands a special VIP subscription to Playboy.')
When I called to subscribe, an automated service asked me to hold, stating that all operators were busy. No shortage of new subscribers then.
The phone line operator, when she answered, sounded as bored and weary as a hooker on her final trick of the night. Since my husband's name is on our Sky package, I had to hand him the phone for him to authorise my usage. (I wonder whose name is on the
Timney-Smith household's TV package?).
The cost is £15.99 a month, with an additional £15 joining fee and a guarantee that there will be no mention of what you have purchased on your bank or credit card statement - though that will come as cold comfort to Mr Timney after his
viewing of two blue films was exposed.
After two hours of watching these channels, my conclusion was that these 'films' are degrading, exploitative, overlaid with terrible music and, once the shock has worn off, unutterably dull.
While you become an expert in female anatomy, you learn almost nothing about the male nude. The men, in any case make relatively rare appearances - 'girl-on-girl action' is the order of the day, however heterosexual the women may be. Clever camera angles
stop short of actual penetration, but it's abundantly clear what is going on at all times.
In short, what I saw were unlovely people doing unlovely things.
It was interesting to read the comments online after Olivia Lichtenstein's article in the Mail about the sleazy TV channels watched by Jacqui Smith's husband and Toby Young's riposte. They were surprisingly liberal: men (overwhelmingly men) attacked
Olivia for being uptight and said that nobody forced anybody to watch porn.
No space here to go back over all the arguments civilised people make to show that pornography is demeaning and exploitative, but to say it's always been a part of life is no defence. Cockroaches are a part of life, too, and we generally regard them as
After years of watching late-night porn in anonymous hotel rooms - for research purposes - its purpose is clear, says Clive James. To keep one's mind off sex while one's partner is absent.
Tough on pole dancing, tough on the causes of pole dancing - it's a New Labour policy in the grand modern tradition, which takes a moral view that includes the economics, or, if you like, an economic view that includes the morality.
Either way, when you hold the position of Home Secretary and have been so outspoken on the topic of adult entertainment on expenses, it isn't the best moment for headlines to be telling the world that your husband has not only been watching porno movies,
he has been off-loading the cost of doing so on to the tax-paying public
Smith's expenses claims were never any worse than many others' in Westminster, although the porn angle
did make them slightly funnier.
In any sensible, decent political system, she would have had to have quit a long time ago. Not over money, but over ethics. Smith's tenure as home secretary marked another sustained attempt by the government to undo some of the best aspects of
Where to start? With drugs. When she reclassified cannabis, the home secretary managed to do several pitiful things at once. Firstly, she took a step backwards, undoing one of the only sensible, liberal actions taken by her predecessor, David
Blunkett. But it also flew against the facts, which showed use was down since the drug became Class C. The government's own advisory council, the view of experts and scientists, asked for the Home Office not to do it. She did it anyway. She put
Daily Mail headlines over and above an effective drug policy which finally saw usage drop and she put shabby politics above scientific advice, setting an awful precedent.
Her efforts to basically scrap habeas corpus deserve a special mention. Smith and the prime minister managed to scrape through the vote on 42-day detention, albeit relying on DUP votes. It's been pretty much kicked into the long grass now, but the
attempt reflects just how little respect and understanding she had for the things that make this country great, such as the rule of law and freedom from state tyranny.
Similar attitudes were on display this time last year, when journalists read her letter to the NUJ with a mixture of horror and resignation. In it, she stated that police could restrict photography in certain circumstances , going against a
long-standing principle in British law of a free press. We got a good indication of why the press should be able to photograph the police a few months ago, during the G20 protests.
Throughout the summer, we were briefed of a progressive new policy on prostitution when parliament sat again. Instead we were treated to an abominable piece of law, which made it an offence to have sex with a woman controlled by a pimp. Legal
experts exploded, because the law paid no attention to whether or not the client actually knew the woman was under control. But far more importantly, sex worker groups, who were not even considered worthy of consultation, immediately said the law
would make them less safe. By effectively outlawing prostitution, Smith had forced it further underground, preventing sex workers from organising and cooperating when they sell their services. But then, it's only evidence and empirical data which
tells us that when we adopt such a policy, there are more prostitute deaths, and the home secretary had already proved how little she thought of such things when she upgraded cannabis.