Students campaigning to ban the sale of The Sun newspaper from university campuses have been encouraged by the Scottish Parliament’s public show of support for their campaign.
Members of Scottish Parliament condemned The Sun’s use of topless models and criticised the paper for "objectifying women". Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour MSP for Dumbarton, led the Members’ Debate on Wednesday, and urged the Editor of The Scottish Sun, Gordon Smart, to “take his paper into the twenty first century by consigning Page 3 to the dustbin of history".
A group of Warwick University students who started their own petition for the removal of The Sun from their campus’ Costcutter branch were encouraged by Holyrood's boost for the national campaign.
Lorayn Brown, a committee member for Warwick’s No More Page 3 campaign group, said the debate had strengthened their resolve. She added: “Jackie Baillie was fabulous and the male voices that supported her showed, once and for all, that this is not just a group of angry women trying to remove pretty young girls from the paper but a society standing up for equality and against objectification.”
Since the No More Page 3 movement began last year, 22 universities, including Cambridge, Durham and UCL, have withdrawn The Sun from their campus shops and many others continue to campaign for a boycott. Nearly 123,000 people have signed a petition which asks The Sun to “drop the bare boobs”.
Many MSPs also called for a boycott of the paper if it refuses to remove Page 3 – all speakers were in favour of its removal.
Alison Johnston, the Green MSP for Lothian, said: “If The Sun won’t remove Page 3, then I say that we call for the removal of The Sun, whenever and wherever we can.”
Hanzala Malik, a Scottish Labour MSP for Glasgow, was confident that if topless photographs are not withdrawn, that Scottish Parliament would “take steps to cancel” The Scottish Sun.
The Scottish Youth Parliament last month passed a motion making the campaign against Page 3 their policy.