About Conservative Home

Conservative Home's debate blogs

Conservative Home's reference blogs

How is David Cameron doing?

Conservative blogs


Contributors test

« Karen Bradley: Single measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines to be available through the NHS | Main | John Hayward: More international aid should be channelled through civil society organisations »


Denis Cooper

If two adults freely consent to sexual intercourse it's not really anybody else's business whether one has agreed to do that in exchange for money. There are loads of laws about people trafficking, kidnapping, slavery, harbouring illegal immigrants, false imprisonment, violence and threats of violence, intimidation, rape, underage sex, public nuisance, obstructing the highway with parked vehicles, the use of residential premises for business purposes, income tax evasion, even I believe the reckless transmission of disease.

However I doubt that such a pure libertarian policy would be a vote winner.


I can't wait for the days when there are McBrothels on every ring road with PAYE pros all working in healthy and safe brothels with fire doors and disabled toilets issuing VAT invoices for services rendered plus tip.

Problem is, everyone will be complaining how good old British hookers are having their wages undercut by cheap foreign imports and the product is bland and always the same. Still, at least those nasty pimps will be getting one in the eye.

Seriously, though, I think we could put this sort of thing up for a free vote rather than adopt it as an actual policy.

John Peters

I have long favoured this proposal.
Since this concerns consensual activity between adults, the burden of proof lies with the government. Those who favour the current criminalization of much of the behaviour surrounding the trade, must show how it improves matters. I don't think it does.
Legalization would not solve all the associated problems. It would not eliminate street trade entirely, but I do think it would reduce it greatly. I think it would offer increased protection to the workers and improve their access to the law, and medical and social services. I believe it would have a beneficial impact on the slave trade, organized crime and corruption. Experience in Australia, Germany and the Netherlands seems to support this.

A "Bill To Decriminalize Activities Surrounding Prostitution" would attract far too much political heat, but I do think it would be possible to pass legislation presented as a practical measure which was only tidying up the current situation.

(There should be a good bit of publicity for this site if the vote here goes in favour of this proposal.)


"There should be a good bit of publicity for this site if the vote here goes in favour of this proposal"

-That's all we need!

David Banks

Oh yes - this is an excellent policy - so glad we got away from boring old education.
Not only legalize prostitution but regulate , impose strict Health and safety Laws , risk assessments , counselling , Health visitors etc. Lets put prostitutes at the heart of society


what a stupid idea.

"prostitution has always existed" - so has murder, adultery, theft, drug dealing e.t.c. should we legalise these too?

"STD infections are sky-high in this country at present" - sp we should encourage it more? i dont think so!

John Moss

I'm reminded of the first mayoral husting in 1999 when a man in the audience started to ask his question before the microphone was turned on. The result was he raised his voice more and more, then just as it came on we got - very loud - "...SEX IN TELEPHONE BOXES?"

His point was the "trade" affecting tourists and the effect on minors of seeing the tart cards advertising the various services.

I have to say, I'm in two minds.

The liberal me say yes, subject to restrictions, like, nobody to be under 18 - on either side of the deal - no advertising other than on age restricted web-sites or in top-shelf magazines - so an end to the cards and the "massage" ads in the back of every local paper.

Then, the other liberal bit of me says, yes, but what about the "harm to others" bit of the benthamite equation? So, the Conservative in me says it is all part of the slippery slope to moral depravity and licentious behaviour. (Which is similar to my view of cannabis legalisation, though the health consequences there are much, much worse). The "harm" then done to the rest of us through the increase in our taxes to pay for the consequences, the social breakdown etc etc.....

Sadly, I have to come down as a NO, because I don't think we're as mature and responsible as the Germans and we wouldn't be able to handle it. The fault for that obviously lies with 60 years of welfarism turning us all into, "government should do something", wage slaves not prepared to take responsibility for our choices and actions, so I guess the liberal in me wins out both ways?

John Peters

I also find this decision one of balance.
I mentioned earlier that this was between consenting adults, for example. It is very moot whether the consent is always mutual and genuine given the massive difference in power which can exist between the two parties.
I firmly disagree, however, with your notion that the British people are somehow less evolved than people in other countries, or that they are irresponsible. I find that objectionable, illiberal and undemocratic.
The idea that people need protecting from themselves is the classic excuse for socialist intervention and to justify government intereference in all walks of life.
I would also question the implication that in general there is less regulation, less "welfarism" in Germany than in the UK. I cannot see how you can possibly say that.

Spongebob Squarepants

There is a difference between legalising prostitution and legalising drugs. While legalising prostitution wouldn't harm any others (as it can be made safe), legalising drugs would harm others due to their mind altering effect (which causes crime and violence, as well as severe health damage including psychiatric problems). Drugs are of course also addictive, with those addicted unable to make rational choices, but prostitutes aren’t.

If your child got involved with a bad group and took drugs, you have got serious trouble - if they went to a prostitute, there’s no harm done and you just need a talk about morals. Therefore prostitution could be legalised and made safe, in fact this would be making the best of a bad situation, whereas drugs can’t be legalised.

To say cannabis is no worse than alcohol is a huge fallacy, cannabis causes severe psychosis and mental illness in users. They lose the ability to make the rational choices needed for a liberal society to work, and therefore this substance must be kept away from the public.

Justin Hinchcliffe

An excellent idea - this proposal gets my vote. Although I'm pro-life, I'm not religious - Bible-Bashers and Authoritarians can get lost!

Richard Cooke

You may never "cure" it completely but you can certainly discourage it greatly and remove the root causes - primarily drug abuse, soft punishments, and most important of all, family breakdown.
The vast majority of street prostitutes are addicted to heroin and crack cocaine, a small number are not and do it simply because for them it is an easy way to make money. All of them have made a choice to do what they do. Admittedly, many have had a poor start in life - but not all, and so have many others for that matter who are not criminals.
I am not sorry to say that far from legalising prostitution and drugs we should be getting serious about enforcement, sentencing and the vigorous promotion of family values which are the basis for any moral, civilised society.
Prostitutes and drug users are nothing but common criminals. The stigma once attached to drug abuse is slowly dying just as the law has softened and drugs are now more widely available and acceptable than ever. If we start the same process with prostitution the problem will only multiply and magnify.
If the Tory party does not stand firm on these types of issues then no one else in the mainstream of politics will.

John Peters

"If the Tory party does not stand firm on these types of issues then no one else in the mainstream of politics will."

Yes, but then for those of us who support this proposal that would be a good thing.

Edward Keene

I can't believe I just read this. We're the Conservative party - not the Liberal Democrats. You can't justify the legalisation of morally retrograde behaviour simply by reference to its criminal environment! A real conswervative would call for sronger enforcement of current legislation - not this 'slippery slope' permissiveness. You'll be legalising paedophilia next.

Denis Cooper

I don't think so - the "paedo" prefix means that it pertains to children, but this proposal only relates to consenting adults. It would be a good idea to restore the distinctions between adults and children, who are increasingly being treated as if they were just miniature adults when that is not the case.


What has happened to the 100 policies - there does not seem to be a new one today, and no result for this one? I hope this one is not deliberately being kept open to give time for votes to be submitted in a particular direction. Perish the thought that the Party may be trying to prevent a possibly controversial policy going through...


There'll be a new policy idea tomorrow, Londoner. This policy was rejected (very narrowly).


I thought you weren't going to comment on margins of approval or disapproval of policies as a matter of principle?
A principle I support


Thank you for your response to my message at 12.38pm. As the rejection did not go up until after noon today, and the vote was very close, can you confirm when the voting cut-off for these policies is, and whether it is always the same?

One would not want anyone to have grounds for saying that this might have been left open for longer than usual in order for one side or the other to have more time to procure votes...Whilst one would not put it past the Party's spin doctors to try to monitor these proposals and identify ones they might find inconvenient, one trusts that this independent website would not be influenced in such a way?!

I disagree with NigelC - it is useful to know how narrowly (or comfortably) each proposal was accepted or rejected. I think the Editor has now set a precedent.


I think the Editor may have set a precedent and perhaps I have misinterpreted the discussion on the 100 policies main thread.


I was wrong to indicate the margin of voting. I won't again. Apologies.

I usually count the votes as I'm posting the next policy idea. That does give some policy ideas slightly longer than others.



John Hustings

"A socially and economically libertarian party should not outlaw or interfere in activities which may be distasteful to some but do not harm others"

Then perhaps you should join (or form) a socially and economically libertarian party. The Conservatives are supposed to be conservative, aren't they?.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • DVD rental
  • Conservative Books
Blog powered by Typepad


  • Conservative Home's
    free eMailing List
    Enter your name and email address below:

  • Tracker 2
  • Extreme Tracker