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Children charity ambassador Mary Portas slammed for child sweat shop joke

PUBLISHED: 13:11 05 January 2012

Mary 'Queen of Shops' Portas

Mary 'Queen of Shops' Portas

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Children’s charity ambassador and ‘queen of shops’ Mary Portas has come under fire after taking part in a television sketch joking about sweat-shop exploitation.

The retail guru, recently commissioned by the government to carry out a review into Britain’s high streets, apologised after the blunder and said it was meant to be ‘ironic’.

Ms Portas has worked extensively with Save the Children to fight child labour and as part of her series Queen of Shops’ she drastically revamped the Orpington High Street charity shop branch in 2009.

In the sketch, a television crew enters Ms Portas’s home to find tearful Asian children sat at sewing machines.

She then attempts to cover up the incident by saying: “You know my, er, my family don’t like to feature on camera.”

Scores of people complained to Channel 4 and condemned the show on Twitter.

The show was part of Channel 4’s ‘Mash Up’ night aired last Monday (2).

One tweeter told Portas she was a ‘big fan’ but was appalled by the sketch, to which the star replied: “It’s because I’m anti it and am doing a show on bringing manufacturing back. Meant to be ironic. So sorry if it offended.”

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