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UK to Ban Bare Male Chest/Stomaches

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Men may be banned from daring to bare their chests


16:31pm 26th July 2006

The proposal has been inspired by the least attractive side effect of the heatwave - the tendency of a number of often middle-aged men to go about in nothing more than shorts and trainers.

Last week the Daily Mail highlighted the wave of revulsion among most of the public at the summer's least welcome fashion trend, and pictured a series of the worst examples in the hope of shaming offenders into keeping their T-shirts on.


Now local authorities have been circulated with a scheme for using by-laws to require shirts in town centres and to brand men who won't wear them as anti-social.

The laws would operate in a similar manner to local statutes that ban drinking on the streets or which prevent gangs of youths from congregating.

The politician behind the plan is former local government minister Nicholas Bennett, who has canvassed councils across the country for support.

"There is a problem," Mr Bennett said yesterday. "In my part of the country we are trying to revitalise the main shopping precinct.

"But one of the things that is depressing for anyone going shopping is the numbers of shaven-headed men, mainly in their 30s and 40s, who seem to think people want to see their torsos."

He added: "It is only a small minority, one in a hundred people. But these men do look aggressive and occasionally behave aggressively. You would see a big difference in the shopping centre if they were made to put a shirt on."

"It is nice weather and most of us are wearing fewer clothes. But a town centre is not the beach and taking your top off is going too far, for men as well as women.

"It is an unfortunate thing, but those men who like best to bare their stomachs are the ones who have too much stomach."

Officials in Bromley, in south east London, have responded warily to the proposal, suggesting that implementation might prove 'difficult'.

However by-laws governing local behaviour and giving police powers to act against those who infringe them can be pushed through by town halls if the win approval from the Home Office.

Mr Bennett, now a senior councillor in Bromley's ruling Tory group, said: "We already operate by-laws covering on-street drinking and a 'dispersal zone', where police have the right to break up groups of youths and ban gang members from coming back for 24 hours."

Mr Bennett, who runs a property company, was a minister with local government responsibilities under John Major in the 1990s.

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