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Lib Dem Candidate Denies He Would Consider Voting Labour Over Sex Workers

Published on: 4 Apr, 2015
Updated on: 13 Apr, 2015
George Potter, Lib Dem candidate for Onslow Ward in the forthcoming Guildford Borough Council Election.

George Potter, Lib Dem candidate for Onslow Ward in the forthcoming Guildford Borough Council Election.

Guildford’s Labour parliamentary candidate for Guildford, Richard Wilson, has told The Guildford Dragon NEWS that he was surprised to have received an email implying that the sender, a Liberal Democrat council candidate, might vote for the Labour Party in the general election if the Labour candidate supported the decriminalisation of sex work.

In the email from George Potter, a speaker at the Lib Dem Glasgow conference in October and secretary of the Guildford Liberal Democrats, no clue was given that the sender was a Liberal Democrat candidate for Onslow Ward.

Mr Potter wrote to Mr Wilson: “I live in the constituency where you are standing for election. An urgent priority for me is the decriminalisation of sex work and safety for sex workers…

“I would like to know where you stand on this issue. I could never vote for any candidate that is not ready to give serious consideration to decriminalisation of sex work.”

Richard Wilson commented: ” I was surprised to receive [an email] demanding that I support the legalisation of prostitution as a condition of someone voting for me. This is the first one I have received on this subject. I was doubly surprised when I recognised the sender’s name as a Lib Dem council candidate.

Richard Wilson in Ricard Wilson Labour's parliamentary candidate for Guildford.

Richard Wilson Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Guildford.

“I have to admit that I was slightly suspicious that this was some sort of game-playing by the Lib Dems but … I can assure George that tackling violence against women and girls is a priority for me and for the Labour Party.”

George Potter explained: “I’m definitely voting Liberal Democrat in May and there is very little which could ever persuade me to vote Labour.

“I was curious about the views of all the parliamentary candidates in Guildford on sex work as I support the Safety First Coalition* which campaigns for decriminalisation of sex work in order to improve the safety of sex workers.

“They’ve asked supporters to email parliamentary candidates to find out their views and so I filled in a template email which was sent to all the major parties’ parliamentary candidates in Guildford. This is the email which Mr Wilson has received.

“If you note what it actually says, the wording is: “I would never vote for” a candidate who is opposed to decriminalisation. This is very much the case but it does not mean that I would vote for Mr Wilson even if he was in favour of it. I was simply interested to know what the views of all the candidates are, even though I’ve already made up my mind how to vote.”

*Safety First Coalition [source Wikipedia] In the aftermath of the murders of five young women in Ipswich in December 2007, the English Collective of Prostitutes initiated the Safety First Coalition to decriminalise sex work and prioritise safety. Members include the Royal College of Nursing, the National Association of Probation Officers, bereaved families, anti-poverty campaigners, church people, residents of red-light areas, medical and legal professionals, prison reformers, sex workers, anti-rape organisations, drug rehabilitation projects.

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Responses to Lib Dem Candidate Denies He Would Consider Voting Labour Over Sex Workers

  1. George Potter Reply

    April 5, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I think it’s very instructive that Mr Wilson’s response to a genuine email, asking his opinion on an issue, is not only to fail to reply but also to allow the email to be passed on to the press and to write a blogpost making completely untrue personal attacks.

    I just wish he’d spend as much time focusing on the actual issues affecting residents in Onslow and in Guildford as a whole.

  2. Ngaire Wadman Reply

    April 7, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I am probably horribly traditional and old-fashioned but I find it very saddening that women could find the oldest profession a legal and ‘respectable’ way of earning a living.

    Surely we should be working towards a society where people are respected as people, not simply used as receptacles for random, objectified lust?

    I’d have thought that women were worth rather more than that in a properly caring society.

  3. Bernard Parke Reply

    April 7, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    I notice that correspondent George Potter is standing as a candidate for Onslow Ward.

    I am not a member of a political party or of any pressure group of any kind but I have lived in the ward now for over fifty years.

    I am sure that I would not be alone in asking this prospective candidate his views on several issues which are causing us some concern.

    They are as follows:

    The green belt. The Tories in a recent election publication state that the “Green belt must stay”. This appears to be a U-turn on their part”

    If building on the green belt were allowed to start it would be difficult to stop, rather like the breaching of a dam.

    Blackwell Farm. In this area of the Hog’s Back where it is proposed that some 3000 plus houses are built.

    Onslow Tory candidates say that they would oppose this development. It could be a King Canute episode.

    Could it be argued that they are going against their own national party’s policies in providing housing?

    Buy to Let. In areas which once provided social and affordable housing for young first time buyers houses are now being bought up by speculators and turned into virtual student dormitories on which no local tax is being paid at all.

    It would appear that this current trend, once a trickle, has almost become a flood.

    Should rigorous action be taken to reverse this trend and doing so assist our young families of achieving a home of their own?

    What are Mr Potter’s views on these issues, I would like to know?

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