Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope blocks bill to make upskirting a crime
A campaigner has said she’s “extremely upset and disappointed” after Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope blocked a proposed upskirting law.
Gina Martin, 26, had worked tirelessly to make upskirting a crime and had won the support of all three major political parties.
However, the proposed Voyeurism (Offences) Bill was stopped on Friday when the lone MP objected to it being given a second reading in parliament.
The blocking process only needs one MP to shout “object” when the title is read out, and as the Christchurch MP halted proceedings, he was met with cries of “shame” in the Commons.
The bill will next be debated in the Commons on July 6.
Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse proposed the bill, and it was expected to get the green light today.
Hobhouse told Sky News that Chope’s intervention was “petty.”
“I think it’s very frustrating and annoying that one MP can block a consensus that had been built over several months,” she said.
“It’s really annoying we couldn’t make progress.”
She emphasised that “every month matters” as we approach festival season.
“One MP can block this – it’s shameful, it’s annoying. It’s not the end of the road, but I’m very angry.”@Wera_Hobhouse, the MP who tabled a new law to make “upskirting” a specific criminal offence, reacts to it being blocked in parliament. pic.twitter.com/fn1rRC0euQ
— Sky News Politics (@SkyNewsPolitics) June 15, 2018
Martin was moved to launch the campaign when she was upskirted at a festival last summer, and the police were as good as powerless to do anything.
In a statement she said that she was “remaining positive” and acknowledged that Chope was always a “risk.”
Martin’s next step is to meet with Tory MP Lucy Frazer, along with Hobhouse and her lawyer Ryan Whelan to plan their next steps.
She also revealed that Chope had agreed to meet with her.
She tweeted: “I am obviously extremely upset and disappointed that Sir Chope decided to object to this vitally important bill for the women of England and Wales. I remain positive, though. We knew this was a risk – but I stand with powerful, passionate women and men behind me, and am confident that Lucy Fraser is committed to – and will – close this gap in the law.”
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“Ryan, Wera and I will be meeting with Lucy to discuss how we should move forward together,” Martin added.
“Ryan and I have spoken to Sir Christopher and he has agreed to meet with the two of us to discuss the bill. I’m positive and and hopeful that he will become a supporter.”
A government spokesman said: “Whilst we are disappointed this Bill did not pass second reading today, we look forward to supporting these measures through the House at the earliest possible opportunity.”