Make buying sex illegal, urges former minister

Caroline Spelman says it should be a crime to buy, not sell, sex. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive

A former cabinet minister has urged parliament to consider making the purchase of sex illegal and called on male politicians to speak about prostitution.

Caroline Spelman, Conservative MP and ex-Environment Secretary, told the Guardian newspaper she was in favour of the legal model seen in Sweden, Iceland and Norway, despite warnings that it could push the trade 'underground'.

"I think the Nordic law is the right direction, but we need cross-party support for it," she said. "It's very important men come out and say what they think as well because it's very emotive."

While kerb-crawling, soliciting and the running of brothels is already illegal in England and Wales, but selling sex is allowed behind closed doors.

Buying sex is legal on the proviso that a third party has not "engaged in exploitative conduct of a kind likely to induce or encourage" the sale.