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Mixed reaction to return of Page 3

The return of a bare breasted model on Page 3 of The Sun newspaper for the first time in almost a week has been applauded and condemned.

It had been widely thought the controversial topless model slot had been dropped after 44 years, moving online to the paper's website, with Government ministers welcoming the apparent change.

MP Stella Creasy tweeted: "So Sun going back to doing #page3? bit like drunken letchy uncle at a wedding who doesn't get the message. Makes everyone uncomfortable.."

Today's front page claims: "We've had a mammary lapse".

The paper shows 22-year-old Nicole from Bournemouth winking and baring her breasts.

Under the headline Clarifications And Corrections the paper states: "Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like to clarify that this is Page 3 and this is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth.

"We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us."

Model Jodie Marsh described the return of the newspaper's topless model as a victory scoreline of " Boobs 1 Fake feminists nil".

Of critics, such as the No More Page 3 campaign, she tweeted "may I humbly suggest that you now put your time & effort into something that actually matters like campaigning against FGM... I reiterate: I love boobs".

She added that women should be proud of what shape or size body they have.

On the return of a topless model to Page 3 Dylan Sharpe, The Sun head of PR, said: "It is all there in the newspaper." He also retweeted the page.

Author, campaigner and Guardian columnist Jack Monroe stated that Dylan Sharpe " the Sun 'head of PR' sending a collage of topless photos to targeted journalists. Creepy, abusive, harassment".

She tweeted: "V disturbing behaviour from The Sun's PR. Targeting women who speak out about Page 3, by sending them direct photos of it. It's creepy."

Mr Sharpe said: "That page has been tweeted tens of thousands of times and I do not see it is any different with me tweeting it.

"Given the number of people who have tweeted that page... I could not have expected that response this time.

"Look at my mentions and the number of people calling me (all) manner of nasty horrible things."

The No To Page 3 campaign group, which had all but declared victory in their battle to have the feature axed, said the "fight might be back on".

Writing on their Facebook page they said: "Thanks to The Sun for all the publicity they've given the campaign."

By 11am the fight back against Page 3 had seen an online petition boasting 218,237 signatures.

It is calling for The Sun editor David Dinsmore "to drop the bare boobs" from the newspaper.

Adding that they are "asking very nicely" the petition states "stop showing topless pictures of young women in Britain's most widely read newspaper, stop conditioning your readers to view women as sex objects. Enough is enough".

The paper, Britain's best-selling tabloid, had not published pictures of topless glamour models since Friday, instead advising readers the pictures would be available on its website.

They did however print pictures of women in bikinis, and yesterday featured former Page 3 model Katie Price in a revealing outfit under the headline "Thanks for the mammaries".

After reports, including in sister publication The Times, that the paper had decided to quietly drop the feature, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Liberal Democrat women's and equalities minister Jo Swinson were among those to express their delight.

But Mr Sharpe had refused to confirm the move, and last night he sent a tweet saying: "I said that it was speculation and not to trust reports by people unconnected to The Sun. A lot of people are about to look very silly..."

The Girlguiding's Advocate panel, which campaigns around issues that affect girls, claimed The Sun should be "ashamed".

In a statement, it said: "We are extremely disappointed that The Sun is continuing to show disrespect for the voices and feelings of young women by printing images of topless women on Page 3.

"A family newspaper should be ashamed of taking such a flippant approach to an issue that is so important to many young people.

"Girlguiding will continue to support No More Page 3 to show that the voices of young people count."

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