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Complaints as drunken stars appear at Brit Awards.

Byline: By Shahid Naqvi

Birmingham's political leaders last night condemned Britain's drunken pop stars as a bad example to the nation's young.

The criticism follows this week's live broadcast of the Brit Awards in which many of the country's leading pop artists appeared on stage inebriated.

Their alcohol-fuelled antics attracted complaints from viewers and were followed by calls from medics for the Government to do more to tackle Britain's drinking "epidemic".

The British Medical Association expressed particular concern over statistics highlighting the extent of teenage drinking.

Steve McCabe (Lab Hall Green) - a Government whip at the Department for Health -said producers of the show broadcasted by ITV on Thursday should have kept guests under check. "It would have been perfectly possible for the producers of the Brits to carry an anti-alcohol abuse message as part of their programme and print on the ticket it wouldn't be acceptable for people to be drinking at the event," he said. During Thursday's event in London, best British band The Arctic Monkeys were shown slurring their words and carrying lager bottles when they went up to collect their award.

Host Sharon Osbourne accused stumbling comedian Vic Reeves of being drunk and presenter Alan Carr confessed he was inebriated when he presented an award.

Gisela Stuart, Labour MP for Edgbaston, whose constituency contains the student heartland around Birmingham University, said: "When I was Health Minister there was a saying 'Don't get pictured drinking'. I think they did set a bad example. What they should wake up to is they are role models. You may get one or two footballers who misbehave but these days part of their contract is to do community work. I think that is something that other stars need to be aware of."

Les Lawrence (Con Northfield), Birmingham's Cabinet Member for Education, said: "I would seriously blame the artists for appearing under the influence of drink because they are seen as icons by young people. Therefore the way they behave and present themselves becomes very important. I don't have a problem with people celebrating getting an award but there is no need to go over the top and get into an inebriated state."

Media watchdog Ofcom received 43 complaints about behaviour shown during the live broadcast.

ITV were contacted by The Birmingham Post.

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Brit Awards flashpoint: Sharon Osbourne and Vic Reeves
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 23, 2008
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