Jacqui Smith 'shocked' to discover we're drowning in sea of porn

Visit to Erotica exhibition made her feel 'innocent'

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has professed herself "shocked" at the availability of porn on the internet after investigating the issue for a radio documentary.

Which raises the question of what exactly she thought she was cracking down on during her time in charge of law and order.

Smith famously left her job as Gordon Brown's Home Secretary after the expenses scandal showed that she had claimed for two smutty movies, watched by her husband, on her cable bill. She was, more seriously, pilloried over listing her sister's house in London as her main home, allowing her to claim allowances on her family home in her Redditch constituency.

However, had she known then what she knows now, perhaps she'd have survived, at least on the smut score.

Smith told the Radio Times that during her research for the documentary, she had been "shocked" to discover how much hard-core material was washing around the net. And so much of it for absolutely no cost at all.

She admitted that after the pay-per-view smut scandal had broken, her son had said: "Dad, haven't you heard of the internet?" Smith was also shocked by a visit to the Erotica exhibition, where confronted by the likes of the Monkey Spanker and artisan-built bondage furniture, "I felt completely innocent.

That Smith was ignorant of the amount of porn available on the internet seems incredible, given that during her time in government Labour cracked down hard on "extreme porn". Smith's Home Office also sought to clamp down on extremism on the internet, and to track all the UK's browsing habits via a vast uber-database, the Interception Modernisation Programme. Surely some her staff might have noticed there's lots of smut out there as well?

But she insisted, "I'm not naive. I know why men watch pornography. But I think greater availability on the internet is worrying, the way porn is seeping into the mainstream."

The answer, inevitably, appears to be further restrictions. "The internet service providers need to take more responsibility. I don't agree with the argument that if we restrict anything available on the internet we'll turn into China."

Why she is worried is less clear – apparently we were awash in smut during her time in office, yet it was not enough of an issue to have even crept onto her radar. One member of her family has admitted to using porn, while another clearly knows what is out there, yet in her words remains "very well-adjusted".

Smith's documentary will be broadcast on Radio 5 Live on Thursday. ®

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