Strip tease tussle sparks political row in Portsmouth

A POLITICAL row has erupted over a raunchy male strip show set to grace one of Portsmouth's theatres after a veteran councillor branded it '˜sexist'.

Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 1:18 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:41 am
The Dreamboys

Councillor Luke Stubbs - the former deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council - has lashed out at his political rivals over the Dreamboys production, due to come to the Kings Theatre, in Albert Road, Southsea on June 2.

The Tory lambasted the city’s Liberal Democrats and Labour parties for not opposing the show coming to the city - despite their staunch opposition to a lap-dancing club opening in the street.

He branded their actions ‘hypocritical’ and ‘sexist’. But council colleagues said they have been left ‘perplexed’ and ‘bemused’ by his comments.

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Cllr Pitt said: ‘Dreamboys is a mainstream theatre show and it goes around the country. I’m not aware of a single local authority that has banned it.

‘In all issues that this city is facing now and the things that they need to be worried about I really don’t see this as a priority.

‘I find this very odd. I’m bemused by it all.

‘This is a complete misrepresentation about the argument that we put forward around the venue in Albert Road.’

The show has previously appeared in Portsmouth in 2017 when the Tories were in power. There were no comments made against it then.

This year, following a campaign led by residents and backed by city Lib Dems and Labour members, an application by strip club boss Paul Ojla to open a new venue in Albert Road was thrown out.

Some campaigners had branded the club sexist, while others had issues with the opening times and the impact it would have on crime in the area.

In a statement to The News, Cllr Stubbs questioned why this application was turned down but a male strip act was allowed in the city..

He said: ‘Their hypocrisy is appalling.

‘In this day and age, it seems that it is only acceptable to hold men and women to different standards when it disadvantages men.

‘That is true sexism. If the proposed sex club was exploitative and sexist then so is the Kings Theatre and it should be held to account for it.’

Newly-elected Labour councillor George Fielding said Cllr Stubbs’s commitment to gender equality was ‘admirable but misguided’.

‘Cllr Stubbs is certainly the first resident to have raised the visit of the Dreamboys as an issue of concern,’ he said.

‘Indeed, his sudden outrage is somewhat surprising given that the group visited the city last year under his administration, under his own watch, without note.

‘It is quite frankly bizarre that Cllr Stubbs has chosen to waste everyone’s time with this. His commitment to gender equality is admirable, but misguided. This is not an issue of sexism, but just more political hay-making from the Tories.

‘The Labour Group will continue to focus on the issues that matter to people in Portsmouth’.

Cllr Stubbs stood by his comments but stressed he would never want to see the show banned from the city.

‘That’s not what this is about,’ said Cllr Stubbs. ‘I’m not saying anything should be banned but what I am saying is that other people should look at some of the things they have said before and should reflect on this and the complete lack of consistency.

‘If this was a female strip show I’m sure these very same people would be outraged. It’s hypocrisy.

‘This is something that needs to change.’