Sun editor: Page 3 is a British institution

By Ian Dunt

The use of Page 3 girls in the Sun has become a British institution, the editor of the newspaper claimed today.

Appearing at the Leveson inquiry, Dominic Mohan insisted he only used women who had not had plastic surgery and who were not too thin.

"It's become quite an innocuous British institution," he said.

"I'm more concerned about images my children come up with the internet or handheld devices.

"I don't think the images are sexualised in a way even some clothed images are in some magazines and pop videos."

His appearance comes amid heightened concern around the display of topless women in the pages of newspapers.

A recent poll for women's charity Platform 51 suggested 41% of women in the UK would support a ban on topless images in newspapers

The research also showed 41% of young people would support a ban, although support dropped further up the age range, with just 28% of those aged 45-54 backing the idea.

During the general election, deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman said she would try to ban Page 3 from the newspaper.

"You can see the future and the future is not undressed on Page 3," she said.

Mr Mohan told the Leveson inquiry: "The girls are very healthy, they're good role models.

"If you look at catwalk models they're stick thin, some of them don't look very healthy."

In an aside, inquiry counsel Robert Jay told Mr Mohan a Sun article which argued that looking at Page 3 made readers more "brainy" was "rather stupid".