Liberal Democrat councillor said schools could suggest prostitution as a career choice for pupils, at a party conference.
Dennis Parsons, chairman of the Cheltenham Lib Dems, made the off-hand suggestion at a special session in Brighton on sex work.
The father-of-five said school career advisors are currently not allowed to mention prostitution as a line of work, then added: ‘Why shouldn’t they?’ Mr Parsons said: ‘The fact that we are asking ‘should we seek to prevent people entering sex work?’ is part of the problem.
‘You wouldn’t ask the question ‘should we prevent people becoming accountants?’ You’d just take it for granted. ‘We have had a chap suggest that one of the areas we need to be concerned about was families coercing people to go into the sex trade.
Well, again, you wouldn’t protest at families urging and coercing people into becoming accountants.’ But after the discussion, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron disagreed with the view, but said elected representatives must be allowed to say ‘shocking things to stoke debate.
He said: ‘In my view, we are conditioned as a society to see sex work as unsavory. I tried to demonstrate this by comparing attitudes to sex work with attitudes to accountancy. ‘And I asked whether schools’ careers officers should recommend sex work to school leavers.
I did not put that forward as a serious suggestion. It was meant as a rhetorical question as everyone – including myself – would consider it unthinkable. ‘I apologise unreservedly to anyone who has been offended by these events.’