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Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope says he does support criminalising upskirting

2:52 pm, 17th June 2018

Sir Christopher Chope told the Bournemouth Daily Echo that upskirting was “vulgar, humiliating and unacceptable”.

The MP for Christchurch in Dorset said he objected to the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill being given a second reading in parliament on Friday because he disagreed with how the government had approached the issue.

There were cries of “shame” in the Commons as Sir Christopher blocked the legislation, which was proposed by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse and supported by ministers.

:: Upskirting row: ‘Knicker bunting’ demo against MP

Sir Christopher said: “The government has been hijacking time that is rightfully that of backbenchers.

“This is about who controls the House of Commons on Fridays and that’s where I am coming from. I actually support the bills that were before the house. Four of the 26 bills that fell at the same time were my own.

“But this is something I have fought for in most of my time as an MP and it goes to the very heart of the power balance between the government and Parliament.

“The government is abusing parliamentary time for its own ends and in a democracy this is not acceptable.

“The government cannot just bring in what it wants on the nod. We don’t quite live in the Putin era yet.”

:: Why MP objected to making upskirting a criminal offence

Sir Christopher has come in for fierce criticism in the wake of scuppering the bill, with a fellow Conservative MP branding him a “dinosaur”.

But the MP said the reaction had been unfair.

“I feel a bit sore about being scapegoated over this,” Sir Christopher said.

“The suggestion that I am some kind of pervert is a complete travesty of the truth.

“It’s defamatory of my character and it’s very depressing some of my colleagues have been perpetuating that in the past 48 hours.”

After it was blocked, Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “disappointed” the bill did not progress, adding: “I want to see these measures pass through parliament – with government support – soon.”

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.

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