MP Diane Abbott backs keeping sexy mags from kids’ eyes

MP Diane Abbott has welcomed proposals to cover up “disturbing” and “degrading” images on the front of ‘lads mags’ in shops to protect children.

A report commissioned by the government recommended magazines and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers should not be in view of children.

Abbott, the Shadow Health Minister and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said the proposal in the report, ‘Letting Children be Children’, picked up a local campaign she started in 2005 with “porn-free” Stoke Newington newsagent Mr Hamdy Shahein.

Hamdy is well known for being involved in a long-running battle against W.H. Smith who repeatedly sent him pornography that he did not want to sell in his Stoke Newington High Street shop.

He didn’t want to sell material that would offend his customers, and after defending his personal choice to stock only the titles he chooses, he led 500 other newsagents to join his porn-free network.


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Abbott raised the issue in Parliament, resulting in the National Federation of Newsagents producing a set of guidelines for their members to follow in March 2006.

They called for newsagents to ensure these types of magazine and newspapers were above the vision line of children.

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Diane Abbott said she was pleased this report had built on her action: “This is very good news for all of us who have been concerned for a long time about children being exposed to unsuitable images in shops.

“Children should not have to see this sort of material, which can be disturbing for them and degrading to women.

“Some newsagents have been very responsible but others have failed to follow the industry guidelines.

“I hope that the Government will respond to these recommendations and implement them as soon as possible so that children are protected.”

The report, which was compiled by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Christian family charity Mothers’ Union, also called to ban sexualised adverts on streets where children might see them.

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