Chris Grayling
Justice secretary Chris Grayling is considering "appropriate action" against revenge pornReuters

Ministers in the UK say they will seriously consider changing the law to prevent ex-partners from publishing sexually explicit pictures of their former lovers.

In Britain there is currently no law in place to prosecute vengeful lovers who post intimate images of people without their consent, unlike the US.

But justice secretary, Chris Grayling, told MPs in the Commons that the law needed modifying to ensure perpetrators were punished.

He was speaking in response to a parliamentary question raised by Maria Miller, the former culture secretary, who is campaigning for action on revenge porn.

He told her: "It's clearly becoming a bigger problem. What I'd say to you today is the government is very open to having a serious discussion about this with a view to taking appropriate action in the autumn if we can identify the best way of doing so."

Miller said she was encouraged by Grayling's statement.

"We have to send out a very strong message that posting exceptionally explicit images online is completely unacceptable," she said.

"People shouldn't have to face this degrading treatment."

Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert told Metro: "Revenge porn is becoming more common and causes huge harm to the victims. However, there is often no law to prevent it. I'm pleased the justice secretary is listening and hope he will heed our calls for action."

There are 30 websites in the UK used by ex-boyfriends and estranged husbands to post explicit images of former lovers.

Legal action can only be taken if pictures are a breach of copyright, seen as harassment or taken of under-18s.

Posting nude pictures of former lovers without their permission has been made illegal in California. Penalties can be either a $1,000 (£590) fine or a six-month prison sentence.

Revenge-porn legislation has also been introduced in Texas and Utah.