Smith: firms should not go to strip clubs

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The Home Secretary has hit out at corporate high-fliers who entertain their clients at lap-dancing clubs. Jacqui Smith branded the practice "bizarre" as the Government prepared to unveil a crackdown on the sex trade that is expected to criminalise most people who use prostitutes.

Ms Smith said lap-dancing venues appeared to have become an acceptable place for work nights out, adding that new laws would make it harder for them to open. "If I were a business person and I were wanting to make the best impression on clients, who presumably are female as well as male, I do think it's a bit bizarre that you would take them to a lap-dancing club," she told The Observer.

A new licensing regime to be announced this month will subject such clubs, which are treated the same way as pubs at present, to the same tough rules as sex shops. Ministers say the move will give local residents more powers to object to the venues opening.