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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 16:11 GMT
Would-be MP says she was a 'tart'
Christine Wheatley
Ms Wheatley said she worked as a 'tart' for six weeks in Paris in 1979
A would-be MP who admitted to having "worked as a tart" has been kicked off a shortlist of candidates by Labour.

Christine Wheatley was dropped as a possible candidate for Copeland in Cumbria after she confessed to having taken money for sex in 1970s Paris.

Labour officials only learned of Ms Wheatley's past life through a frank interview in a local newspaper.

They said she had not been dropped because of her previous job, but for failing to disclose it.

We have single mothers who want to be MPs, gay and lesbian candidates, so why not former sex workers?
Christine Wheatley

Ms Wheatley, who is an Oxford University graduate, said she was "mind-numbed" by the decision.

"I have done lots of things in my life, lots of different jobs. I'm not ashamed of working as a tart."

The 53-year-old from Birmingham said she was more ashamed of working as an encyclopaedia salesman than as a prostitute for around six weeks in 1979.

Recalling her poverty-stricken days in Paris, Ms Wheatley said: "I hit Paris with 300, I didn't have much to spend, I had to find money.

"It was very gay, I was living on the Left Bank - Paris in the 1970s, and I was a delightful young woman."

She told how she used to sit in a cafe on the Boulevard St Michel and wait to be approached by men.

Disclosure

"French guys would come along and say, 'Would you like something to drink?

"I would say, 'I will have a coffee.

"Then I would say, 'Would you like to make love?' They always said yes. Then I would say, 'Do you have the money?' Then we would go to a hotel."

Eiffel Tower
Ms Wheatley said life was very gay in 1970s Paris

She went on: "We have single mothers who want to be MPs, gay and lesbian candidates, so why not former sex workers?"

A Labour Party spokesman said Ms Wheatley had been given the opportunity to disclose "all the facts that might be relevant to her candidature for the position of Parliamentary candidate for Copeland".

"It has become obvious that she failed to do this and therefore the Labour Party have had no choice but to withdraw her from the shortlist of aspiring candidates."

Ms Wheatley, who is now training to be a barrister, said she would not be giving up on politics and that she had always wanted to be prime minister.


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