A CAMPAIGN to ban Wigan lap-dancers from removing their g-strings during saucy routines has been launched by angry church groups.
The protest is calling on council chiefs to reverse a decision made earlier this year to grant a licence to the town’s only strip club, Baby Platinum, on King Street.
Protestors want its licence conditions changed to outlaw the removal of dancers’ underwear during dances, saying the practice is degrading to women.
And the campaign was given added momentum when a Wigan vicar interrupted his Sunday sermon to urge parishioners to back the g-string ban.
The Rev Stan Higginson told churchgoers at St Michael’s Church in Swinley they should sign a petition set up by Wigan churches.
He said: “I am not a prude and I know there are strip clubs, but this is going too far. It denigrates women. And it also denigrates the client.”
Twelve other Wigan churches are all involved in the protest over the club, which opened in Wigan earlier this year.
Rev Higginson told his congregation that the practice offended moral sensitivities.
The petition states: “As Christians we believe every human being has been made in the image of God and as such, is worthy of respect.
“We feel that this degrades the dignity of both the performer and the client, and we call upon Wigan Council and the owners of the night club to reconsider the alteration of this rule, and do so in haste.”
Alan Blundell, assistant director for regulation services at Wigan Council, said the licence conditions given to Baby Platinum followed national guidelines.
But he said he supported the protest’s concerns about the treatment of women.
Mr Bludell added: “Wigan Council’s Sex Establishment Licensing Policy follows national legislation. There are strict and stringent conditions attached to a licence for a sexual entertainment venue, and the council does monitor this closely to ensure that the terms of the licence are and continue to be complied with.
“Anyone who has information that these conditions are not being complied with can contact our licensing team on 01942 404627.
“The only sexual entertainment venue licence currently in force in Wigan was granted on July 8 for a period of 12 months and has a number of conditions attached to it.
“Licensing officers will continue to monitor the premises to ensure full compliance with these conditions.
“The licence will next be considered after 12 months of operation, at which time alll concerns and views will be taken into consideration.
“However it’s important to note that Home Office guidance on licensing for sexual entertainment venues states explicitly objections should not be based on moral grounds or values.
“I support concerns about the exploitation of young girls and women and we are doing all we can to ensure that the borough’s young females obtain good qualifications and skills and to support them into more fulfilling roles. Readers may also be aware of our recently launched #BelieveInHer campaign which aims to raise aspirations and address issues of gender inequality in Wigan Borough.”
An official of the church who asked not to be named commented: “I was only too keen to sign the petition, as were many other people.
“We were a little stunned when the vicar said he was abandoning his sermon and was replacing it with a rant against the club’s application.”
One long-time St Michael’s worshipper Derek Fuller said: “I must admit we were all a bit surprised when the vicar made it clear he was going to ditch his usual sermon and replace it with a rant.”
The Rector of Wigan, Ray Hutchinson added: “I would like to see the whole licensing process in Wigan put under public scrutiny. I think this present application over the g-string infringes public decency.” Baby Platinum declined to comment.
A spokesman for Baby Platinum declined to comment.