Cut-price clothes retailer Primark has pulled a "disgraceful" range of kids' bikinis featuring padded tops, following a barrage of criticism over the ill-considered apparel.
According to the BBC, the bikinis for girls as young as seven came in "candy pink with gold stars and black with white polka dots" at four quid a pop, and quickly had politicos queuing up to administer a shoeing.
Tory supremo David Cameron fulminated this morning on BBC London Radio: "There is a classic example today where Primark are apparently pushing padded bras on seven-year-olds, which I think is completely disgraceful.
"The sort of country I want* is one where it is not just the government [that] feels outraged about the early commercialisation and sexualisation of our children but companies should stop doing it, they should take some responsibility."
LibDem equality spokesperson Lynne Featherstone chipped in with: "Primark's decision is welcome but how on earth could they have thought that this was a good idea in the first place? Young children need our protection and shouldn’t be the prey of greedy retailers selling them adult products."
She insisted: "I will be writing to all the big retailers and asking them to pledge to stamp this kind of sexualisation of children."
Penny Nicholls, director of children and young people at The Children's Society, also slammed the "premature sexualisation" of kids, which along with "unprincipled advertising", is doing young 'uns no good at all.
She said: "The evidence shows that adults feel children are more materialistic than in past generations, while children themselves feel under pressure to keep up with the latest trends. We need a significant change at the heart of society where adults stand up for better values."
Child protection consultant Shy Keenan, of The Phoenix Chief Advocates, which "helps victims of paedophiles", thundered: "It never fails to amaze me just how many High Street household names are now prepared to exploit the disgusting 'paedophile pound'."**
A spokesman for suitably repentant Primark said: "The company has stopped the sale of this product line with immediate effect. Primark will donate all the profits made from this product line to a children's charity, and apologises to customers for any offence caused." ®
* No, Dave, the sort of country you really want is one with you running it. Nice job getting some election mileage out of the Primark outrage, though.
** We're not quite sure what Keenan's going on about here, or indeed what colour this "paedophile pound" might be, although we're certain it'll contain a touch of glitter.