Government welcome news that The Sun has apparently axed its page three topless photos

Government ministers have welcomed reports that the Sun has dropped Page 3 girls – with one branding the controversial feature "old-fashioned sexism".

Britain's best-selling tabloid has not published pictures of topless glamour models since Friday, and has reportedly decided to quietly drop the feature.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan (pictured: Reuters), who also holds the women and equalities brief, said the move is "long overdue".

The Conservative Cabinet minister said: "This is a long-overdue decision and marks a small but significant step towards improving media portrayal of women and girls. I very much hope it remains permanent."

It also received the backing of Liberal Democrat women's and equalities minister Jo Swinson – although she criticised the decision to run pictures of two Hollyoaks actresses in their bikinis on today's Page 3 instead.

She said: "I am delighted that the old-fashioned sexism of Page 3 could soon be a thing of the past.

"I welcome this apparent step forward from the Sun, but I would encourage its editors to consider whether parading women in bikinis is really a modern reflection of the contribution women make to society.

"We need to ensure that media representation of women reflects the great achievements that women make to business, to families and to society.

"I'd like to see us providing positive role models for young girls instead of suggesting that women's contribution is in how they look."

Asked whether David Cameron welcomed the apparent demise of the Page 3 topless model, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The PM always thinks that what newspapers publish is a matter for newspapers.

"It is his view that editors' decisions are for editors.

"There is an important point around the independence of newspapers making their own publishing decisions."

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