Lib Dems back teenage porn reform

Youngsters aged 16 and 17 should be freely allowed to visit sex shops and look at internet pornography, Liberal Democrats agreed yesterday.

The majority of delegates at the party’s spring conference in Southport said it was right that 16 and 17-year-olds ought to have the right to express their sexuality.

Don Foster, the party’s culture spokesman, during a censorship and freedom of expression debate, said 16 and 17-year-olds were “living in a twilight zone between childhood and adulthood”, and as such ought to be bequeathed with different rights at different ages.

Mr Foster rejected calls that pornography instilled violence into voyeurs but he drew the line at legalising “snuff” movies and bestiality, rape and under-age sex.

The Tories slammed the policy as “irresponsible.” Tory party co-chairman Dr Liam Fox said the policy added “to the many ridiculous policies the Liberal Democrats have dreamed up over recent years.”

“With all the problems facing Britain the Liberal Democrats have once again chosen to focus on the absurd,” he added.

And there were dissenting voices among Mr Foster’s Lib Dems colleagues. Professor Steve Webb MP said the legal age should be kept at 18.