The Sun, Britain's top-selling newspaper, has scrapped Page 3's topless women after 44 years, delighting the legion of critics who have branded the photos of bare-breasted models sexist, offensive and anachronistic.
Insiders said the decision has been taken to kill off the controversial feature quietly but that the feature would continue online.
"This comes from high up, from New York," said one senior executive in a reference to the paper's owner Rupert Murdoch.
The Sun refused to respond to any calls, emails or texts from the Guardian throughout Monday but told the Times, which is also owned by Murdoch: "Page 3 of The Sun is where it's always been, between pages 2 and 4, and you can find Lucy from Warwick at Page3.com."
The paper reported that last Friday's edition of the paper will be the last that would "carry an image of a glamour model with bare breasts on that page".
A spokeswoman for the campaign group No More Page 3: "This could be truly historic news and a great day for people power." adding it "could be a huge step for challenging media sexism".