MP wants lads mags on top shelf

A Labour MP is campaigning to have lads mags such as Nuts and Zoo removed from the lower shelves of newsagents.

Claire Curtis-Thomas said children should not have access to the “degrading explicit material” contained in these publications, and others such as the Daily Sport.

She is presenting a bill to the House of Commons today that would restrict their sale to the top shelf of newsagents, out of the reach of children.

The MP for Crosby and Formby said the April issue of Zoo included a Dictionary of Porn that contained explicit details of sexual practices.

She was hoping to use examples of the material in her speech to the House, but was banned from doing so by the Speaker on the grounds that it was too explicit.

Such magazines are designed to appeal to men in their mid twenties, but Ms Curtis-Thomas maintained that a significant proportion are read by teenagers and children.

The sale of newspapers and magazines is regulated by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN), which issues voluntary codes to retailers but has no power to ensure that they are followed.

Ms Curtis-Thomas’s sexually explicit material (regulation of sale and display) bill would establish a body to regulate the sale and display of such material.

“While explicit material is available freely to minors in any high street newsagents, its content is so graphic and repulsive that I am prevented from quoting it on the floor of the House of Commons.”

She added: “Throughout Britain today there is unrestricted access to such material. It is shocking to me that a child of eight can walk into any shop in the country and buy a ‘newspaper’ such as the Daily Sport containing material with little to no difference from hard-core pornography.”

She insisted that she was not advocating the censorship of such material for adults, but said there must be safeguards in place to protect minors.

The NFRN said newsagents should be sensitive to consumers’ concerns about lads mags. Stefan Wojciechowski, head of news and magazines, said: “At the end of the day, these titles are legal, but where a local newsagent has to be responsive to local customers and their comments, he should act accordingly.”

A spokesman for the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) said that displaying lads mags was “a matter for retailers to respect the needs of their customers”.