MSPs vote down Govt-backed lap-dancing curbs

Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have all opposed Scottish Government-backed plans to crack down on lap-dancing clubs.

Sandra White, an SNP backbencher, had proposed a law which would have given local authorities greater powers to refuse applications.

But despite receiving backing from Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, the plans were defeated by 76 votes to 45.


Sandra White’s proposals had previously been halted after critics argued they could affect theatre productions featuring nudity.

The Government gave the MSP assistance in redrafting her proposals.

Under the redrafted plans clubs which provided ‘sexual entertainment’ would have had to obtain a special licence, rather than a routine public entertainment licence as is currently the case.


Speaking in the Scottish Parliament Sandra White said she was “sure that no member would disagree that this activity deserves more scrutiny and control”.

The Glasgow MSP said she had visited lap-dancing clubs to investigate the issue and commented that “what I saw makes me feel that women are being objectified and used as sexual objects”.

Glasgow City Council has previously warned that the current system is “ineffective” and that “local authorities must have the option to refuse to license such establishments”.


Councillor Jim Coleman, acting head of Glasgow Council, described the clubs as “sexual exploitation which degrades women”.

In an interview with The Times newspaper in February a former lap-dancer revealed how girls, some under the age of 18, are routinely pushed to perform sexual acts on men in lap-dancing clubs in order to make the job pay.

In the candid interview ex-lap-dancer Milly shattered the myth that the practice “is no more than dancing”.


“No one sticks to that,” she said. “And if you do, you quickly lose out.”

Milly said: “When I started, I was aware it was shady, but I had no idea how extreme the sexual contact would be. I honestly would not have done it, had I known.”

During the debate on Sandra White’s proposals, Tory MSP John Lamont said he had met a politics student who works as a lap-dancer in order to help her pay for university.

Mr Lamont said she was, “quite frankly, insulted by the claims that lap dancers are prostitutes being exploited and that their work is demeaning”.

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