Why Thatcher could have been controversial for a very different reason

Margaret Thatcher discussed banning sex toys using an anti-pornography law as part of a drive to clean up public decency in the 1980s, new documents released by the National Archives reveal.

The files also reveal Thatcher was sympathetic to anti-obscenity campaigner Mary Whitehouse, whom she met on at least two occasions.

Leon Brittan, the home secretary at the time, wrote to Mrs Thatcher in 1986 noting that there was a “strong case” to be made for banning sex toys under obscenity laws, according to a report in The Times (£).

He felt that sex toys could fall within the scope of the "deprave and corrupt" test of the 1959 Obscene Publications Act.

Brittan was asked by Thatcher to devise a new test to ensure published material "should not offend against good taste or dencency". However Brittan felt that taste was too imprecise a concept for the courts to be able to arbitrate on and the plan was abandoned.

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