A prominent member of the Liberal Democrats has been forced to resign after stating that school careers officers could suggest prostitution as a line of work for pupils.
Dennis Parsons, the chairman of Cheltenham Liberal Democrats, floated his controversial idea at a special session on sex work, reports iNews.
During a discussion on how best to combat the stigma attached to sex work, Mr Parsons compared prostitution with accountancy.
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?’
We’ve got a huge cultural problem that we do see sex work as different – not the sort of thing we would want our sons and daughters to get involved in – but why shouldn’t they?
Pretty strong stuff, which it turns out – as Mr Parsons suggested – not everyone agreed with.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron distanced himself from the remarks, telling the Press Association:
It’s a wonderful thing that we are in a party where those sort of views can be expressed and you can have that sort of exchange.
They are certainly not my views. Drawing the equivalence between sex work and accountancy is not one that I share.
In fact, Mr Parsons received such widespread condemnation that he has now resigned his post as chairman of Cheltenham Liberal Democrats.
It was meant as a rhetorical question as everyone – including myself – would consider it unthinkable. No one in the room took it as anything other than that.
However, I do accept that my remarks were capable of misinterpretation and the repercussions are such that I felt I had no option but to resign that post with immediate effect.
So he was right really.