MP urges boycott of The People over Essex girl jokes

An MP is so incensed with The People for publishing “derogatory remarks” about Essex girls that he has urged readers to stop buying it.

Bob Russell, the Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, has urged them to register a protest by switching to another Sunday newspaper.

He made his appeal in a House of Commons motion which is open to other MPs to sign.

“Had the offensive comments been directed at people because of their colour or religion it would have caused outrage amongst all decent citizens and would be considered by some to break the law,” he said in his motion.

The MP has taken offence at a story in last Sunday’s People about Prince William allegedly arranging a date with an Essex girl. On the inside pages, the story was illustrated by a string of Essex girl jokes.

“Such attacks on women from Essex have no place in civilised society,” said Russell. “They are unworthy of any publication which wants to be taken seriously” The motion calls on people to boycott The People and to “switch their alliegance” to another Sunday paper.

If enough MPs sign, Leader of the House Peter Hain could face pressure to yield government time for a debate.

Russell can also apply to Speaker Michael Martin to grant him a halfhour slot to raise his concerns in a mini-Commons debate.

By David Rose

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