Support for Austin Mitchell?s parliamentary petition on the right to take pictures in public has this week jumped to 168 MPs.

The Early Day Motion (EDM) has received cross-party support since it was tabled in the House of Commons on 11 March.

Austin (pictured) is canvassing the support of fellow politicians following growing reports of police stopping innocent photography enthusiasts taking pictures in public areas.

However, the EDM has also attracted interest from professional photographers, owing to rising tensions between police and press photographers.

Among the more well-known names to back the EDM are the former actress Glenda Jackson, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Vince Cable and Lembit Opik.

The motion urges the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to agree on a ‘photography code’ to be used by police officers ‘on the ground’.

Such a code, states the petition, should set out the ‘public’s right to photograph public places thus allowing photographers to enjoy their hobby without officious interference or unjustified suspicion’.

The petition was announced just weeks after police launched a nationwide anti-terrorism publicity campaign, alerting the public to people with cameras behaving suspiciously.

An EDM is a formal motion that allows MPs to express and publicise their opinions on given matters and gives fellow politicians the opportunity to support it by adding their signatures. It is possible that an EDM is debated in the House of Commons.

Yesterday, we revealed the contents of a letter concerning photography in public, written by the Home Office Minister Tony McNulty, to Michael Jack MP.

It followed a complaint by an Amateur Photographer reader who was stopped by police earlier this year.

While the letter stated that there is no ?general restriction? on taking photographs in public, McNulty avoided specific reference to the incident. He added that police decisions ?may be made locally to restrict photography?.

To find out whether your local MP has signed the EDM visit