LibLink: Wera Hobhouse: Upskirting will prove to be a meteorite to Westminster’s political dinosaurs

Wera Hobhouse has written for the Huffington Post about how Christopher Chope’s objection to her bill to outlaw the awful practice of upskirting brought people together, cross party, to fight for change, giving the bill a new lease of life. She describes how, last week, working with the Justice Minister, the Bill was ready for presentation in the Commons. Then came a bombshell:

The following day we found out that none other than the honourable member for the Jurassic Coast, Sir Christopher Chope, was planning to object to the bill. I lobbied his peers, they lobbied him, I even cornered him and tried to change his mind, but all to no avail. The sad reality is that Chope is sitting on a majority of 25,000, and with no governmental ambitions, feels secure in doing whatever he pleases without fear of retribution. He will block any Private Members Bill on principle, regardless of the bill’s content and merit. On the same day as upskirting, he blocked a bill to make it illegal to stab police dogs, to give carers free parking at hospitals, and has previously blocked a pardon for Alan Turing. The list goes on. True to his word he objected and was subsequently vilified for exactly what he’s been doing for the last 20 years. For a long time he has deliberately restrained progress in this country, and my sympathy for him is limited at best.

Yesterday my bill, which has been adopted by the government, was passed by the House to proceed to the Second Reading Committee. This means the second reading will be much earlier than expected, Tuesday 2 July. This type of legislative journey is very rare and reserved for legislation that is deemed uncontroversial. The decision to move so quickly is testament to how widely the bill is supported, both in Westminster, and across the country. I was glad to see no-one objected yesterday and now that sufficient progress has been made by the government, I have withdrawn my own bill.

The public dislike bickering politicians scoring party political points, and we all do it sometimes, it’s the nature of the beast. It may go unnoticed, but politicians often also get together and work cross-party to try and get things through that we all agree with. Case and point, my bill was sponsored by members from five parties. These efforts get canned on a regular basis by those with prehistoric views such as Chope, and the Conservative leadership have allowed their backbenchers to do this for far too long.

You can read the whole article here.

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2 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 23rd Jun '18 - 2:43pm

    How would the procedures be improved?

  • OnceALibDem 24th Jun '18 - 9:59am

    What Richard said. What Wera is saying is that the executive will now use their power to get this change to the law. There is nothing about any change to procedures to stop this happening next time. (which BTW no-one complained about when Dennis Skinner used parliamentary chicanery to block bills on abortion and restricting stem cell research)

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