'I don't Blame page 3 girls for posing' says de Piero

Young women who pose for topless pictures – like the Page 3 Girls in The Sun – should not be blamed for it, Ms de Piero said.

The shadow Home Affairs minister said she could understand why women posed for explicit photographs, hoping it would give them a way out of lives they find unfulfilling. Blame should be directed at the publications, she said.

She spoke out as a petition addressed to the editor of The Sun demanding that the newspaper stop publishing topless photographs edged close to 50,000 signatures. Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman is among the backers of the "Take the Bare Boobs Out of The Sun" petition.

But Ms de Piero – who paid tribute to Ms Harman's long campaign to make Parliament more female-friendly – is not one of the signatories.

During her election in March 2010, she had to deal with the fallout from a revelation in the Daily Mail that she had posed topless for a photo agency in her home town of Bradford at the age of 15, without telling her parents. She hinted that it was pressure from her parents that led her to turn away from modelling and concentrate on getting into university.

"I don't think that semi-naked photographs of girls should be appearing in a newspaper, but I'm not going to blame the girls," she said. "It's a way out. I can see that, though I do hope they could find other things.

"There was nothing natural about me going to university at all. I didn't know anybody who had been to university but – thank goodness – my parents pushed me so much that I ended up there."

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