Jacqui Smith on her investigation into porn

The former Home Secretary on researching porn for a BBC Radio 4 documentary

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She was the first ever female home secretary, yet these days Jacqui Smith is probably just as well known for making an expenses claim for two porn films watched by her husband.

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In the new issue of Radio Times magazine, Smith talks for the first time about the scandal that forced her to resign – “a great, big personal f***-up” – and discusses Porn Again, a programme she is presenting on BBC Radio 5 Live next week.

In the documentary, Smith investigates the world of pornography, a world of which – despite her recent experience – she seems to have had very little prior knowledge.

One particular eye-opener was online porn. “I thought the attraction of porn was that it’s illicit: you go into a private shop to buy a DVD. But what the internet has done is to open up free, hard pornography to anybody of any age. I found that quite shocking.”

Perhaps if she and her husband had been better informed, she might not have lost her job? “Yes, that’s what my 17-year-old son said: ‘Dad, haven’t you heard of the internet?'”

As a feminist who believed pornography objectified and degraded women, Smith admits making Porn Again has also broadened her view of those who work in the industry.”They’re more decent than I thought they’d be. Not everyone in porn is a hideous old sleazebag.”

Yet, as she toured the film sets and erotica exhibitions, visited Richard Desmond’s adult channel Television X and watched hours of porn in the name of research, Smith says she never found the material a turn-on.

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But what about the presenting job – could she be interested in a new career as a broadcaster? “I’d like to do more programmes,” she confirms. “I was a teacher before I was a politician. My whole life has been about communication.”