Tag Archives: wera hobhouse

Wera Hobhouse hails progress of bill to stop “vile” upskirting

Last night the bill aimed at stoping upskirting passed its final Commons stage and now goes to the Lords. Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who initiated the legislation back in February. It then looked like it was going to fall after Christchurch MP Christopher Chope objected to it. The Government then took it on board so that it would be debated and become law.

Wera said:

I want this Bill to stop the vile practice of ‘upskirting’. It should be a successful tool for prosecution, but it should also act as a deterrent. Zero tolerance, no loopholes.

This Bill has not only highlighted and sought to rectify a gap in the law, but resulted in further parliamentary debate. Debate on serious issues around non-consensual distribution of pornographic images and the production of deep fakes enabled by new technology.

I look forward to working hard on these issues. Liberal Democrats continue to campaign to make sure the law protects victims of all sexually motivated malicious behaviour in this country.

In the Commons she praised the way people had worked together across party to get the legislation through:

From the very beginning of its journey, the upskirting Bill has been the result of brave individuals —particularly women—speaking out. They chose to speak out about a vile crime that was going not only unpunished but largely unnoticed. They courageously spoke out about their experiences, to try to draw attention to the gap in the law. The Bill is the result of their hard work, and each and every individual who helped this campaign to materialise into the legislation before us should feel proud.

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LibLink: Wera Hobhouse: Solving the housing crisis means using the empty houses we’ve already got

Housing spokesperson Wera Hobhouse has written for the Huffington Post about how a Liberal Democrat amendment passed in the Lords this week will help alleviate the housing crisis.

Politicians have a moral obligation to help solve this crisis, and one part of the process must be bringing empty properties back into use. Of course, we must build more homes – 300,000 per year to be precise – but bringing empty properties back into use is an excellent way in the short-term to help families in desperate need of a home, whilst saving valued green belt land from development. Equally, by bringing empty homes back into use, we can help regenerate struggling communities. After all, regions with the highest number of vacant dwellings are often also the areas that have been left behind in terms of economic growth.

Last year was the first year since the recession that the number of empty homes in England did not decrease. This is unsurprising. Tory Government cuts to local authorities hamper their enforcement capabilities. All dedicated empty homes investment programmes, programmes that my colleagues in Coalition fought tooth and nail for including my predecessor in Bath Don Foster, were severed in 2015. It was a 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto promise to reduce the number of empty homes by 250,000, and that is something they delivered in Coalition and can be incredibly proud of.

t is clear something must be done. The Liberal Democrats strongly supported the calls to double the council tax on empty homes, but now we have gone one step further. Yesterday in the House of Lords, the Liberal Democrat amendment, which increases council tax the longer you leave it empty, has been adopted and passed by Parliament. There are of course exemptions, for example where a resident is in residential or nursing care or when a member of the armed forces serves overseas for long periods. These premiums on council tax are not statutory. Councils have the flexibility to apply them or not.

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How Lib Dems have made the news this week – Gosport, upskirting, trains and cannabis oil

It’s worth noting that Lib Dem MPs have featured in some of the top headlines this week.

What does that tell us about the kind of things we do and the people we are?

Well, Norman Lamb spoke about how he ordered the review into the deaths of elderly people at Gosport War Memorial Hospital after the NHS closed ranks.

Lamb told BBC Newsnight: “I just think it’s horrific and there has been a real systemic failure here, a closing of ranks in my view and a sense that ordinary people just weren’t being listened to at all, and an unwillingness by

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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.

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Update on ‘upskirting’ Bill

(R-L) Vince supports the “upskirting” bill with campaigner Gina Martin, sponsoring MP Wera Hobhouse and Ms Martin’s solicitor, Ryan Whelan

We reported on Tuesday that the Justice Minister had agreed to take Wera Hobhouse’s Bill through Parliament after it was sabotaged by Christopher Chope.

We now have the details about how it will be progressed.

It seems that the Government is using a rare parliamentary procedure to progress the Voyeurism Offences Bill. It will have its first reading tomorrow and is scheduled for its Second Reading debate in a couple of weeks time.

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Victory declared for ‘upskirting’ Bill

(R-L) Vince supports the “upskirting” bill with campaigner Gina Martin, sponsoring MP Wera Hobhouse and Ms Martin’s solicitor, Ryan Whelan

The Liberal Democrats have declared victory in their bid to make ‘upskirting’ a specific criminal offence.

Following Tory MP Christopher Chope’s shocking move to block Wera Hobhouse’s Bill last week, the Justice Minister met Wera Hobhouse this afternoon and, on behalf of the Government, agreed to take her Bill through Parliament.

Wera said:

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Wera Hobhouse slams lone Tory MP for pointlessly sabotaging “upskirting” bill

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse has slammed an ‘out of touch’ Tory for sabotaging her Bill to make upskirting a specific sexual offence today.

Having secured the Government’s support for her Bill to make upskirting a specific offence, it was expected to pass through the House of Commons today. The Bill comes off the back of Gina Martin’s campaign, which she started after falling victim to the crime last summer.

However, in a shocking move Tory MP Christopher Chope, known for objecting to the second reading of the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill, defied the Government and Number 10 by opposing the Bill, preventing it from proceeding to the next stage.

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Wera Hobhouse wins Government support to make upskirting a specific sexual offence

Good news from Westminster – Wera Hobhouse’s Bill to make upskirting a specific sexual offence could closer to becoming law today when it receives its second reading in the Commons. Wera has won Government support for the measure but it requires to get through today without objection before it can proceed.

Wera has been working with campaigner Gina Martin and her lawyer Ryan Whelan on the details of law reform with the Ministry of Justice.

Wera today said she was “delighted” as the Government agreed to support her legislation to close any potential loopholes, in order to better protect victims and increase convictions:

I got involved in politics to change things that my constituents and I care about. I am incredibly grateful to Gina Martin for starting this campaign, and for giving me the opportunity – in my first year in parliament – to do exactly that.

The fact that the Government has listened to our calls is testament to the widespread consensus that there was a gap in the law that needed to be addressed. By working with Gina and ministers on the detail of my Bill, we have demonstrated that when we work together successfully we can make a difference on issues that really matter to people.

We all made the case for common sense. Now if someone is to fall victim to upskirting, the law will recognise them as the victim, and the police will be able to act immediately and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Gina Martin explained how she built her successful campaign:

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Lib Dem MPs support abortion rights for women in Northern Ireland

Three Liberal Democrat MPs took part in yesterday’s Commons debate on giving women in Northern Ireland access to legal and safe abortions without having to travel. The recent vote to repeal the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution, paving the way for legislation allowing abortion up to 12 weeks in Ireland and the provisions of the 1967 Act in the rest of the UK. The issue has been devolved to the Northern Ireland assembly since 2003, but that Assembly is not currently sitting. The Irish referendum and a UN report from earlier this year which stated that:

the situation in

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Wera Hobhouse secures PM’s backing for her call to make upskirting a criminal offence

Today, Wera Hobhouse secured the backing of the Prime Minister for her quest to make the awful practice of up skirting an offence.

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We need to ban upskirting

Lib Dem members yesterday would have received an email from our Bath MP Wera Hobhouse asking for support in her campaign to get upskirting banned.

If you want to sign the petition, the link is here.

What is upskirting? The OED defines it as “the action or practice of surreptitiously taking photos or videos at an angle so as to see up a woman’s skirt or dress.”

It is sickening and appalling that people even think they have the right to do this!

Wera is calling for upskirting to be made a criminal …

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Watch: Happy Easter from Wera Hobhouse

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Wera Hobhouse’s bill could see 2 year prison sentence for upskirting

Wera Hobhouse has revealed further details of her bill to outlaw upskirting. Offenders could end up with 2 years in prison.

From the Evening Standard:

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who tabled the Bill, said changing the current law to make it easier to prosecute would allow the law to “catch up with technology”.

It could also mean that members of the paparazzi would be prosecuted for taking shots of celebrities where their underwear is deliberately shown

The move comes after data published by the Press Association last month revealed girls as young as ten among the alleged victims who have been targeted in public locations such as restaurants and festivals….

 …Ms Hobhouse said: “It is, on the face of it, a vile, discriminating and outrageous practice. I personally have not – fortunately – had this unpleasant experience, but it is just outrageous, it is humiliating for anybody who has that happen to them and it has a deep impact on them.”It is so obviously in your face a wrong thing and yet our law has not kept up with this practice.”

Wera is asking supporters to contact their MP to ask them to support her Bill:

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Liberal Democrats call for new housing revolution

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a major overhaul of the powers of local councils to meet the goal of ensuring that everyone in Britain has a home.

The package, passed by the party at its Spring Conference in Southport, calls for new powers that will see local authorities able to build and invest in more affordable and social housing. This includes greater access to borrowing for local authorities, strengthened powers to bring empty homes back into use and the power to direct the use of otherwise unwanted public land. Alongside measures to allow local government to abandon Right to Buy …

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WATCH: Wera Hobhouse on why Brexit is a bad idea

This week, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse spoke in a parliamentary debate on a petition calling on the Government to walk away from the Brexit talks with no deal. As ever, she did so with passion and wit.

Enjoy.

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Wera Hobhouse argues for more social homes for rent

99 families stand to lose the chance of a socially rented home in Wera Hobhouse’s Bath constituency after the Planning Minister failed to call in a planning decision. In what Wera described as “social cleaning”, these families will be forced out of the city.

In an adjournment debate last night, Wera took her argument directly to the Housing and Planning Minister. She outlined the direct consequences of the lack of social housing provision:

What about the 99 most vulnerable families, who will now simply be moved out of their home city of Bath? They cannot stay because there will be 99 fewer social homes for rent under the current plans. This sort of social cleansing is unacceptable and it gives the Government the reputation of being uncaring. The Minister will know that I requested him to call in the planning decision that reduced the number of social homes for rent by 99, but he refused to do so. The implication is that this reduction in social homes for rent is in line with Government policy, but on Monday the Secretary of State, in a quick reply, said it was not Government policy to reduce the number of social homes to rent. It cannot be both things in this specific instance, so what is the answer?

Wera outlined the scale of the problem. The number of houses being built for social rent is plummeting:

Government statistics show that nearly 40,000 social homes for rent were built in 2010-11, and the figure for 2016-17 was just 5,380. In the 2016-17 financial year, 12,383 council homes were sold under the right-to-buy scheme. Year in, year out, the number of social homes for rent is being reduced.

The human consequences are horrific:

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Wera Hobhouse to fight Bath for the Lib Dems

Wera Hobhouse has been selected to fight Bath for the Liberal Democrats.

The candidate selected last year, Jay Risbridger, stepped down last week.

The BBC has the story:

Wera Hobhouse was selected by members during a lunchtime meeting at Bath City Football Club,

The seat is currently held by the Conservative MP Ben Howlett but was previously a Lib Dem stronghold, held by Don Foster for 23 years.

The original prospective parliamentary candidate, Jay Risbridger, picked last autumn, stood down last week due to family and work commitments.

Paul Strasburger, from the Lib Dems’s campaign in Bath, said: “It’s important to the party nationally because it’s a very winnable seat, and therefore it’s a central part of our desire to stop a Tory landslide.”

The Bath Chronicle quotes former Bristol West MP Stephen Williams:

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