National News

Supplied by

Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope blocks proposed upskirting law to cries of ‘shame’

5:46 pm, 15th June 2018

The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill was stopped in its tracks when Christchurch MP Sir Christopher Chope objected to it being given a second reading in parliament.

The bill, which was proposed by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse and supported by ministers, was expected to get the nod through the Commons on Friday.

Blocking its progress only requires one MP to shout “object” when the title of a private member’s bill is read out.

Minister for women Victoria Atkins and Tory MP Will Quince were among those who cried “shame” after Sir Christopher’s intervention.

The bill will be debated next on 6 July, but will only take one dissenting voice to put another stop to its progress.

Ms Hobhouse told Sky News it was a “petty thing to do”.

“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 added that “every month matters”, pointing out festival season was approaching.

Upskirting victim Gina Martin, 26, launched the campaign after two men took a picture up her skirt while at a festival in 2017.

In a statement, Ms Martin admitted she knew Sir Christopher’s scepticism was a “risk” but that “I’m positive 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.”

Victims of upskirting have been found to be as young as 10 years old.

Currently, victims in England and Wales are forced to seek prosecution through other legal avenues, such as outraging public decency or harassment.

A specific law against upskirting already exists in Scotland.