PM in call for curbs on online junk-food ads

Gordon Brown has demanded that the curbs restricting junk-food ads on television be extended to new media.

He asked the Culture Secretary, James Purnell, to ensure the code of practice is tightened to meet parents' concerns over "excessive food advertising online or via mobile phones". Brown said Purnell would hold talks with the industry in order to make sure that the code was as "tough" as parents wanted it to be.

This is the latest example of an increasingly interventionist stance by the Government on advertising. Ministers are already reviewing the codes on junk-food and alcohol ads, and have ordered a review of "the impact of the commercial world" on children.

Nick Clegg, the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, backed calls for more curbs on ads aimed at young children. He said: "We will campaign for sensible restrictions."

But the Tories were more cautious. Michael Gove, the Shadow Education Secretary, warned that further controls could jeopardise the future of children's TV programmes.