Plan to outlaw paying for sex splits France's ruling Socialist Party


Two socialist MPs have attracted all-party support for a new bill which would criminalise the clients of prostitutes, earning them a fine. Yet behind the apparent consensus, Mediapart has discovered that there is far from unanimity on the proposed law even within the ruling party. A number of senior socialist MPs point out that many respected non-governmental organisations fear the change would make life less safe for prostitutes. Others say it will make the party look too 'moralising'. And as Mathieu Magnaudeix reports, it is also not clear whether the prime minister or the president fully support what could become a controversial measure.

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“Have you seen Borgen?” In France's National Assembly MPs have been busy discussing the hugely popular Danish political drama that has been broadcast this autumn on the Arte channel. It is certainly very topical. In the fifth episode (see video below) of this third series a major debate about prostitution engulfs the nation. Should the customers face criminal penalties? The social democrats think yes. So, too, do the centrists and the right who hold power. But though she is first of all in favour of the idea, the heroine of the hit series, former prime minister Birgit Nyborg, gradually changes her mind, out of a mixture of conviction and political opportunism.