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Clark strong arms MPs over prostitution law

Judith Collins National Party Clevedon MP

26 June 2003

Clark strong arms MPs over prostitution law

National Party MP Judith Collins says there's mounting speculation over the involvement of Helen Clark in last night's narrow vote on prostitution law reform.

"One of the National Party's own MPs was called to Helen Clark's office this week as she attempted to convince him to vote for the legislation.

"Now I understand at least two Labour List MP's were left with the impression that their future cabinet hopes were in jeopardy unless they backed the bill.

"So much for the 'conscience vote', it's clear there is no such thing in the Labour Caucus," says Mrs Collins.

She's also calling on Labour List MP Ashraf Choudhary to return his backbencher's salary after abstaining from last night's critical vote.

"How can any MP abstain from a conscience vote unless they have no conscience?

"It beggars belief that a follower of the Muslim faith has no view on this radical law change, when it would appear to fly in the face of his religious beliefs," says Mrs Collins.

"Now that we must face up to the reality of this law, it's crucial the Government puts in place mechanisms to ensure the sex industry does not become a conduit for organised crime.

"The police have real fears that the Government is writing a blank cheque for gangs, who may now look to exploit this clumsy piece of legislation," Mrs Collins says. Ends

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