An MP has called on the government to legislate if The Sun does not axe its Page Three topless models by the end of the year.
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion, also called for shops on the Palace of Westminster estate to stop stocking the newspaper until Page Three is removed.
She said: “It is a sexist anachronism that The Sun is so widely available across the palace estate.
“If Page Three has not been removed from The Sun by the end of this year I think we should be asking the government to step in and legislate.”
The former leader of the Green Party was reprimanded for removing her jacket at the beginning of the debate in Westminster Hall to reveal a white t-shirt emblazoned with the words “No more page three”.
The chairman, Labour’s Jimmy Hood, asked Lucas to replace her jacket in accordance with Westminster’s dress code.
She complied, but said: “It does strike me as an irony that this t-shirt is regarded as an inappropriate thing to be wearing in this house, whereas apparently it is appropriate for this kind of newspaper to be available in eight different outlets on the Palace of Westminster estate.
“That is why I have written to the palace asking for them to be withdrawn, not to be on sale, until Page Three is removed.”
Lucas went on to list studies by bodies including the UN Committee on the Elimination of Violence Against Women that drew links between the media portrayal of women as sexual objects with attitudes that underpin violence and discrimination against women and young girls.
Quoting Lucy Holmes, the founder of the No More Page Three campaign, she said: “We are all affected by Page Three, whether we buy it or not, because we all live in a society where the most widely read newspaper makes normal the idea that women are there primarily for men’s sexual pleasure.”
In reply to Lucas’ calls for legislation, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “I hear what the honourable lady says and I know she is campaigning for a change in the law, but the government’s position is that it does not interfere with press content.
“There are no plans for a change to the law in this regard.”