MP demands ban on Sun's page three
The government should legislate to ban page three of the Sun newspaper unless the tabloid removes the topless photo feature by the end of the year, a Green MP has argued.
Caroline Lucas said it was unacceptable for topless photos of women to be available in newspapers that are not age-restricted and displayed at "child's eye level", arguing that it normalises views of women as "sex objects".
"Sexualised and sexist representations of women in the media provide a conducive context in which violence against women and girls flourish," she added.
The Brighton and Hove MP's comments came during a Westminster Hall debate on media sexism on 12 June 2013.
Ms Lucas said she did not believe the media "is solely to blame, but its objectification of women goes some considerable way towards explaining why prejudicial attitudes towards women are so deeply entrenched and so deeply normalised".
"So if page three still hasn't been removed from The Sun by the end of this year, I think we should be asking the government to step in and legislate," she said.
Ms Lucas, who was wearing a t-shirt displaying a "No More Page Three" slogan in large lettering, was reprimanded by the chair for contravening the dress code.
She agreed to cover up the t-shirt but, brandishing a copy of page three of the Sun - breaking parliamentary rules on the use of props - she said: "I will comply with your ruling. But it does strike me as a certain irony that in eight places in this House you can get copies of the Sun."
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey congratulated Ms Lucas on her "powerful" speech.
He said media representation of women was "rightly...of great concern to many, many people", noting the Leveson Report found that tabloid press "often fail to show consistent respect of the dignity and quality of women generally".
He told Ms Lucas the government had "no intention" of interfering in press content, arguing that it is for adults to choose what they want to read, provided something remains within the law or does not impact inappropriately on the rights of an individual.
The minister added that he did not support her campaign to keep the Sun newspaper out of the Palace of Westminster.