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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 22:19 GMT 23:19 UK
Desmond has 'no regrets' over adult titles
It is the first tabloid newspaper launch for 16 years
Richard Desmond, owner of the Express newspaper and a Labour Party donor, has defended his digression into adult magazines.

Speaking on the eve of the launch of his latest paper, the Daily Star Sunday, Mr Desmond said his portfolio of adult titles, including Nude Readers' Wives and Asian Babes, was "part of the parcel".

"I certainly don't regret going into them," he told the BBC.

"How can you knock something that makes you good profits, employs people, pays taxes and rates and so on."

While he was frequently condemned a pornographer, and "all sorts of nasty words", Mr Desmond said his adult titles were strictly regulated.

"We do not publish pornography. We publish adult magazines which are legal... and sold through the normal High Street stores."

'Really like Blair'

The statement came as journalists prepared to put the finishing touches to the first edition of Daily Star Sunday, the first mass market Sunday paper launched in Britain for 12 years.

And it followed condemnation from some Labour MPs over the party's acceptance of 100,000 from Mr Desmond.

Labour MP Alice Mahon said in May: "What Richard Desmond does exploits women, and that's not what the Labour Party's about."

Mr Desmond on Friday, while admitting he had previously given cash to the Conservatives, praised Labour as the "only party to vote for" at the last election.

"I really like [Prime Minister Tony] Blair, but at the end of the day there is no competition," Mr Desmond added.

Cost benefits

While many previous Sunday newspaper launches, such as the Sunday Correspondent, have floundered, Mr Desmond said his title would benefit from economies of scale.

Daily Star Sunday would be run as an edition of his existing Daily Star newspaper.

"I do not see it as a launch, I see it as a seventh day edition," he said.

The paper's readership would include many Daily Star readers who currently fail to buy a Sunday newspaper.

While the newspaper faces competition from existing tabloid Sundays such as the Sunday Mirror, Mr Desmond pointed to the debts of almost 1bn being carried by its owner, Trinity Mirror.

He added: "I love it when people say 'you won't do it', because it gives me the extra urge to do it."

See also:

13 Sep 02 | Business
13 May 02 | Politics
11 Oct 01 | Politics
11 Jan 01 | Business
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