Clegg backs porn director for Commons seat

An award-winning female porn director who has been appointed as a parliamentary hopeful for the Liberal Democrats will be a passionate campaigner for her local area, party leader Nick Clegg said today.

Mr Clegg said Anna Arrowsmith's previous profession was "not exactly my cup of tea" and she was certainly no "cardboard cut-out Westminster politician".

But he said it was important that "people like her" who care about their local areas put themselves forward.

Mrs Arrowsmith - managing director of adult entertainment company Easy on the Eye Productions - will stand for election in Gravesham, Kent.

Mrs Arrowsmith, who works under the pseudonym Anna Span, started shooting porn films after graduating from Central St Martins in Fine Art (Film & Video) in 1998.

Since then she has directed more than 250 raunchy scenes, and written and photographed a book to guide couples in how to make home-made porn.

Mr Clegg, who said he had "just read the reports" about Mrs Arrowsmith, told GMTV: "It's not exactly my cup of tea what she's been doing before she has put herself forward in Parliament but I also think it's really important that people like her who really care a lot about her local area are encouraged to come into politics.

"You can't accuse her of being a cardboard cut-out Westminster politician."

Asked if he had an issue with somebody involved in the pornography industry representing his party, he said: "I don't know exactly what she's been doing in the past.

"She's not done anything illegal and she cares passionately about her area.

"She has been chosen to be the candidate for that area.

"Let's see. I think all the indications are that she's going to be a really, really strong voice for that local area."

Yesterday, the 38-year-old, who is married and lives with her husband Tim and dogs in Groombridge, near Tunbridge Wells, insisted she was ready to win Tory Adam Holloway's seat at the general election.

Mrs Arrowsmith, who also has an MA in philosophy, said she was spurred into standing for election by the MPs' expenses scandal and a belief that women are under-represented in Parliament.

She said: "If people don't know what I do for a living then they would never know. The local party and the local people who I have so far met have seen that I'm very driven.

"I'm not campaigning on behalf of my old industry. I'm campaigning on behalf of the people in the Gravesham area.

"When people get to see me, they will realise that I'm used to project managing and that I'm driven to achieve change rather than just promising it."

Her interest in politics stemmed from watching Margaret Thatcher during the 1979 general election campaign and willing her to become Britain's first female prime minister.

Mrs Arrowsmith, who was named best director at the 2008 and 2009 UK Adult Film and Television Awards, became involved in porn to make it more accessible to women, she said.

Her first commercially-released programme was on Television X, titled Eat Me/Keep Me, which led to further X-rated shows and her becoming chair of the Adult Industry Trade Association.

On her Twitter site, where she has more than 420 followers, she wrote: "From the adult industry! From porn to Parliament, here I come!"

Describing herself as a keen campaigner for women's rights and anti-censorship issues, she said she has spent 12 years trying to make the adult industry more female-friendly.

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