This crusty old Tory MP just blocked the bill to make upskirting a criminal offence
Even other Conservative MPs are livid
Today, Parliament had the opportunity to catch up with the times and make upskirting the criminal offence it always should have been.
Cometh the hour, cometh the gammon. Enter Sir Christopher Chope, the 71-year-old crusty af, basically a fossil, knighted, male MP for Christchurch.
As the bill was being introduced, Chope shouted "object" without sufficient time after the reading the upskirting bill, and one other which would make it illegal to attack police dogs. It meant this opportunity to have upskirting outlawed has passed by, and both bills have now been pushed back to the 6th July.
I spend a lot of time trying to defend MPs and while we often disagree I think most make their decisions in good faith. Christopher Chope is the exception
— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) June 15, 2018
The bill was put forward following a campaign by Gina Martin, after police didn't prosecute a man who took photographs up her skirt in Hyde Park. Upskirting often happens in public.
The bill on upskirting is a private member's bill, which means that if it is passed through a parliamentary reading three times without being disagreed upon, it would become law. It's unusual for a private member's bill to become law, but the bill on upskirting, which was put forward by female Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, was backed by the government.
Speaking to the Guardian, Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse said of Chope's objection: "I don’t think he actually has any substantive problems with the bill."
"He hardly knows what upskirting is, I think. It’s just he doesn’t like private members bills and certainly doesn’t like them when they come from other parties."
I'm delighted the Prime Minister has listened to our call for reform. The battle isn't over though, the second reading of my bill is next Friday. Write/Tweet your MP, and encourage them to #stopskirtingtheissue and make upskirting a specific criminal offence. @beaniegigi pic.twitter.com/ihG2sInL7B
— Wera Hobhouse MP (@Wera_Hobhouse) May 2, 2018
"It was meant to be a good news story. We were all lining up to say, this is a modern crime and the government is keeping up with crime created by modern technology, which particularly affects young women and children."
Chope, who is 71, was allegedly approached by several female MPs before the bill was read who attempted to explain to him the importance of criminalising upskirting, but was described as being "very negative".
The few MPs left in parlaiment to vote on the bills reportedly shouted "shame" at Chope. He was the only MP to disagree.
He's even being roasted in Tory group chats. Conservative MPs are reportedly furious, "bitching" about Chope on WhatsApp. The party seems mortified about Chope's decision, and how it will make the Tories look.
This is the moment a Conservative MP blocked a bill that would make ‘upskirting’ a specific offence.
Sir Christopher Chope objected to the bill, which had the support of the Government, to shouts of “shame” from fellow MPs. pic.twitter.com/h4z2GtFP9k
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) June 15, 2018
George Freeman sent to the group "Can all of us – men and women – tell Chris how APPALLING the headline ‘Tory MP blocks ban on upskirting’ looks. And how damaging it is for colleagues in marginal seats."
Zac Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond Park reprtedly sent "he couldn’t give a toss [about how this makes the Conservative party look]. [Chris Chope] Loves the attention, which is why he keeps doing it."
Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesborough tweeted that Chope had "embarrassed himself."
Chris Chope has embarrassed himself with his actions in Parliament today, and does not speak for me or @Conservatives on the disgusting issue of upskirting. The Government will legislate. https://t.co/gV4bNH7iEh
— Simon Clarke MP (@SimonClarkeMP) June 15, 2018