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The new owner of prudish newspaper, The Express is also the godfather of a pornography site that would make Linda Lovelace and Ron Jeremy blush.

A report in today's Guardian reveals that a company owned entirely by Richard Desmond runs a website where porn hungry surfers are promised live heterosexual and lesbian sex.

The site also hosts naughty pictures of a fair range of women - you could say it caters to most tastes. Examples listed by the paper include a 78 year-old woman, pregnant women and one woman who calls herself Anal Annie.

Norman Baker, media spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, underlined the gulf between the audiences of Mr Desmond's site and the more conservative Express readers. "The facts that have been uncovered will cause concern for many long standing Express readers. If he wants run sex shows on the sidelines he is happy to do so, but none of that must cross to the newspapers."

An early day motion signed by ten Labour MPs also express alarm that "national newspapers within the Express Group have fallen under the ownership of a publisher of pornography."

To add fuel to the fires of the easily offended, it seems that there is a legal precedent. A decade ago David Sullivan , publisher of the Daily Sport, was blocked from taking over The Bristol Evening Post by the then mergers and monopolies commission.

The deal was blocked, not on competition grounds, but because it could "harm the standing of the papers in their community." The commission added that if Sullivan took over the paper he "could be expected to influence editorial policy and the character and content of these papers and this would harm both accurate presentation of the news and the free expression of opinion." ®

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