A travelling circus has teamed up with an MP to fight new licensing legislation, on the eve of its visit to Birmingham.

Zippo's Circus is supporting a campaign by Peter Luff (Con), MP for Mid Worcestershire, to ensure circuses are exempt from the laws.

The Government's Licensing Act, which comes into effect later this year, will mean every venue putting on entertainment needs a licence.

But for circuses, every stop they make counts as a new venue - at a possible cost of about £600 for a licence, every time.

The laws are designed to give police and councils more power to shut down violent or noisy venues, but the MP says they could mean the end of the traditional circus.

Mr Luff is to present his own proposals for legislation to the House of Commons in October, giving the Home Secretary the power to make circuses exempt, or alternatively allowing them to buy just one licence for every venue.

The Bill followed months of consultations with circus owners and members of the circus community, including the director and some company members of Zippo's Circus, which starts a run in Birmingham on Friday.

Ringmaster Chris Barltrop, from Bromyard, Herefordshire, has also been involved. Last year, Zippo's staged a "Last-Ever Circus Parade" in Birmingham city centre, to protest against the new licensing scheme.

Mr Luff said: "The central problem is that the Act requires premises to be licensed - fine for a theatre that doesn't move, but a real issue for a touring circus that moves up to 40 times a year.

"So the Royal Opera House needs one licence and a small touring circus needs 40."