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:

I’m very happy that the law is changing, this is a huge victory for women across the country. I hope this can go through on Friday 6th July with my Bill, but my main concern now is that the law is changed as soon as possible and therefore I also welcome the Government Bill.

It seems unfair that just one person was able to block a Bill that we had spent so long building cross party consensus behind, but reform for Private Members’ Bills is for another day.

I’d like to thank everyone who has written to me over the weekend sharing their stories, I know how much this means to so many. Thank you for your support throughout this, the law would not be changing without you.

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  • Richard Underhill 19th Jun '18 - 9:07am

    Chope gets an early bath.

  • John Marriott 19th Jun '18 - 9:28am

    I find it hard to imagine that there are so many depraved individuals who are prepared to indulge in such demeaning practices. Perhaps I’ve led too sheltered a life. Now that a certain MP will be for ever identified as the person who objected to Ms Hobhouse’s bill perhaps, as some wag suggested, we should rename the practice ‘to chope’?

  • Sue Sutherland 19th Jun '18 - 10:46am

    Am I getting too cynical in my old age? I think this was totally deliberate and that Chope was encouraged to do this so the Government, in particular our female PM, can claim it was all down to them that the law was passed.

  • Sue: I doubt the government are that competent.

    Also Chope has form for this, he does it all the time. He’s also, alongside his good buddy Philip Davies, torpedoed or attempted to torpedo bills to make rented housing fit for human habitation and the pardoning of Alan Turing, to give but 2 examples from many. He consistently votes against legislation for human rights, equal pay, and same-sex marriage, and supported that stupid alternative Queen’s Speech that wanted to bring back hanging and re-introduce conscription to the armed forces.

    I’m quite glad that anyone convicted of this offence will now be referred to as having gone down for Choping: a fitting legacy for the vile man. I did laugh at the Grauniad sketch writer referring to his explanatory press release as a “mea non perva” though.

  • Yeovil Yokel 19th Jun '18 - 1:59pm

    Very well done, Wera.

  • He also objected to Finn’s law in the same session of parliament

    Government-backed plans to bring in a law to stop people who attack police dogs and horses from claiming self-defence have been derailed.

    Environment Secretary Michael Gove had supported the so-called “Finn’s law”, debated in the House of Commons.

    It is named after police dog Finn, who needed surgery when he was stabbed in October 2016.

    But Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope announced his objection to the proposed Animal Welfare (Service) Bill.

    Perhaps he was feared a Choper might be bitten.

  • Perhaps he was feared a Choper might be bitten

    Or perhaps he thought that it was a good idea and so it should be done properly, as a government bill?

  • Once again the light has been shone into another crease of the HoC and it has been found wanting; another opportunity for reform!

    Whilst I totally accept the outrage about this particular bill and have no issue with it, the events have shown there are a number of issues with the Friday afternoon rule that only requires one MP to shout “object” to block a bill’s progress once time for debate has concluded at 14:30 on a Friday. There are two aspects to this, firstly why was a government-sponsored bill and this isn’t the first one, as many are now pointing out, included in the Friday afternoon agenda and thus run the “object” gambit. The second is that a single “object” is required without any explanatory statement. In this case this has resulted in much debate as to what exactly was being objected to: the content of the bill, the way the government is bringing it’s business to the house, the lack of debate of business transacted post 14:30 on Fridays? Mind you if it were the last point then why hasn’t Chope objected to ALL bills presented after the cut-off time?

    Which returns us to Dav’s comment, namely shouldn’t ALL business transacted by the house be done properly.

  • Mind you if it were the last point then why hasn’t Chope objected to ALL bills presented after the cut-off time?

    He pretty much has, hasn’t he?

    (Well, together with a small group of backbenchers who take it in turns, I gather).

  • In a meeting with the House of Commons Procedure Committee in 2012, Sir Christopher said that when he was a minister, he thought private members’ bills were a ‘pain in the neck’.

    It has been reported that Sir Christopher repeatedly blocks them as he dislikes backbencher’s attempts to reform the law, and feels that the bills do not allow for proper scrutiny.

    In the 2012 Procedure Committee meeting he said: ‘If a sufficiently large number of backbenchers get together and say they want to have legislation on something, they can either deliver that legislation in spite of the government, or they can embarrass the government into accepting it, and so change the agenda.’

    …..However, in the past year alone, he has sponsored at least 31 private members’ bills…..
    His actions have not made him very popular among his fellow Tories, and yesterday it was revealed that they are turning against him in a private Whatsapp chat.

    Among his most vocal opponents is former London Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith, who just moments after he objected retweeted somebody who said: ‘Christopher Chope has the punishment of being Christopher Chope, imagine having to be so tedious all day long, to truly care about nothing but parliamentary procedure must be a hollow existence.’…

  • Richard Underhill 19th Jun '18 - 7:07pm

    Jennie: It was Philip_Davies MP who was speaking at great length about police body cameras on Friday, reading into Hansard the contents of official reports which are likely to be in the House of Commons library. He was not reprimanded by the Deputy Speaker for this timewasting.
    Times 19/6/2018, page 9, columns 3-5 “Pants to you: MP’s office targeted as government backs new upskirting bill”.
    “Caroline Lucas photographed the door to Sir Christopher Chope’s office.”

  • Dav: except for the 40-odd he’s introduced himself, you mean?

    Yeah, Richard, they seem to work as a kind of infernal tag team.

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