Wera Hobhouse presents Bill to outlaw upskirting

Lib Dem MP for Bath, Wera Hobhouse, has introduced a Bill which would make upskirting illegal in England. It is high time that the disgusting practice of secretly taking a photo up a woman’s skirt without consent and, sometimes, publishing it on the internet,

A couple of weeks ago, Wera asked a Government Minister if the Government would legislate on this. The answer was reasonably positive, so we need to push the Government to support Wera’s Bill.  You would hope that nobody would try to defend the practice which has been illegal in Scotland for almost a decade.

From the Bath Chronicle:

Wera Hobhouse presented her private member’s bill to make the practice illegal in the wake of a public campaign calling for a change in the law.

If passed into law, her bill would make upskirting a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The MP said: “The fact that this is not a sexual offence in England baffles me, as much as it horrifies me.

“In Scotland upskirting was made an offence back in 2009.

“There is simply no excuse for ignoring this issue any longer.”

A small number of people have been prosecuted for outraging public decency after they were caught upskirting.

However, in many cases, the police say they can do nothing.

In the 2010-2015 Parliament, Julian Huppert was instrumental in getting the Government to make revenge porn illegal so this was another example of Lib Dems acting to protect women’s rights.

A good start to the week of International Women’s Day.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Good to read this.
    My first teaching job was in a boys’ secondary school. The combination of open ironwork staircases and miniskirts was not an ideal way to maintain dignity. (It does seem bizarre now that women teachers were not allowed to wear trousers in those days).

  • Richard Underhill 7th Mar '18 - 8:32am

    Camera angles on BBC2 Newsnight were surprising.
    David Steel once brought the chairman of the BBC Board of Governors to speak at a dinner at the NLC. He denounced ITV channels for competing according to the amount of leg shown by the female presenters. Have standards changed at the BBC in modern times?
    I remember the dinner because he also challenged us about the BBC’s coverage of political parties, saying that David Steel was on “all the time”. I mentioned the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. He asked whether it is “a democratic party”. I said Yes. The next morning a somewhat chastened Today Programme did an interview with David Ford. I mentioned it to their then leader John Alderdice, now a peer.

  • Yeovil Yokel 7th Mar '18 - 11:03am

    Laudable, but like so many laws how can it be enforced?

  • Sue Sutherland 7th Mar '18 - 1:36pm

    Good news!

  • @Yeovil Yokel – easily. Someone spots it, reports it, phone is checked and photo found.

    Equally, the law would be more of a deterrent than anything else.

  • It seems to me when an act is already a crime, the last thing needed is to increase the statute book’s prolixity. Outraging public decency is the perfect charge for this, along with public nuisance. Instead of defining a new crime (which may have the unintended consequence of rendering OPD unavailable if perverted imaginations invent a new outrage) have the Director of Public Prosecutions and the elected Commissioners of Police insist that these crimes be charged under this heading.

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