Would-be MP: 'I'm proud of my porn films'

One woman attracted more than her fair share of nudges and stares at the Lib Dem conference yesterday. It seemed many of the delegates couldn't make up their minds whether she represented the ultimate challenge to sexism, or the opposite.

Only weeks ago, many of her fellow conference delegates would have struggled to pick out Anna Arrowsmith, the newly selected Lib Dem candidate for Gravesham, Kent, from a line of two. They no longer have that difficulty: she has featured prominently on just about every newspaper front page and is well-represented on TV too.

Despite, or perhaps because of, all this attention, she insisted yesterday she is not ashamed of her career as director of 250 porn films as well as being managing director of Easy on the Eye Productions.

On the subject of her work, she is clear: adults should be able to enjoy porn if they so desire. "There are a few people who will be addicted to it but that is like alcohol, it's like food and overeating. You cannot blame the thing itself. It's how it is abused."

According to her company's statistics, 45 per cent of her web customers are female, aged 25 to 55. She says 30 per cent of credit card payments to the porn channel Television X are female, while sex shops have a 55 per cent female footfall. "So you have a burgeoning industry, considering we have only had hardcore legal in this country for 10 years," she adds.

She is clear about questions on abuse, exploitation, prostitution and drugs that are commonly associated with the porn industry: "If I felt that about the industry I wouldn't be anywhere near it. I know that people assume it's exploitation. I know the industry and there is no trafficking.

"I am a member of Feminists Against Censorship, which started up for the rights of people who like sex and like looking at it, and do not see that as innately sexist. If you are saying it is, you are handing the industry over to men and you are saying the only option is to outlaw it. And I'm sorry, but there are a lot of women in this country who are quite capable of making their own minds up about what they do and do not want to see, and I am one of those. We don't want to be told by the state what we can do."

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