Harriet Harman’s political judgement has been called into question after it emerged that she once advocated the watering down of child pornography laws.
The Leader of the House of Commons and Minister for Women and Equality, who also sits on a Cabinet committee on young people’s welfare, is being touted as a possible successor to Gordon Brown, .
But she faces fresh criticism from Opposition MPs and campaign groups after The Daily Telegraph obtained documents showing that she called on ministers to make sexually explicit photographs or films of children legal unless there was evidence that the subject had been harmed.
At the time she made the official submission, she was a senior figure in a civil liberties organisation that wanted the age of consent to be lowered to 14 and incest decriminalised. It also defended self-confessed paedophiles in the press and allowed them to attend its meetings.
Last night Tim Loughton, the Shadow Children’s Minister, said: “Clearly there is a serious conflict of interest with the committees she sits on, who might want urgently to clarify her position on the exploitation of children for the sexual gratification of adults.
“It’s a shame that Miss Harman’s zeal for positive discrimination and all things politically correct among adults does not extend to the exploitation of children. Any child who is used for the sexual gratification of adults counts as an abused child and needs protecting.”