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Disgraceful Tories try to weaken law on sex clubs

September 29, 2009

“It is a disgrace the Conservatives and the Lib Dems are trying to water down laws clamping down on ‘sex encounter’ venues like lap dancing clubs. They should be ashamed of themselves,” said Councillor Abjol Miah, leader of the Respect Group on Tower Hamlets council and prospective parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow, this morning.

Legislation is currently passing through parliament which will give councils greater powers to regulate lap dancing clubs and other sex encounter venues. I strongly welcome these measures, despite the fact there are some loopholes which I would want to see closed before the law is passed.

It is apparent that many lap dancing clubs and other venues which degrade and exploit women have grown up in and around Tower Hamlets in recent years, to cater primarily for City spivs and much to the dismay and resentment of the vast majority of residents here. Respect initiated a campaign some three years ago against these clubs and that campaign has helped to shift the climate of opinion in parliament and government, along with such campaigning bodies as Object and the Fawcett Society.

However the Lapdancing Association has spent more than £30,000 lobbying for the laws to be weakened to allow them to continue to exploit and degrade women. As a result Tory and Liberal Democrat peers in the unelected House of Lords have tabled amendments to the legislation to try to water down the law. Even worse, the Tory front bench is trying to water it down even further in a final debate in the Lords later in October.

“Voters in Tower Hamlets and beyond, especially from the Bangladesh community, must contact their elected representatives and members of all the major parties and demand that legislation is passed now which will allow councils to prevent these dens which degrade and exploit women from growing up in our midst as they have done in the past. We must stop this rearguard action by the Tories and Liberal Democrats,” said Councillor Miah.

“The Tories often present themselves as the party of traditional family values, but it seems the business interests of the lap dancing bosses are more important to them than stopping the degradation and exploitation of women.”

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