Tory MP derails Government backed plans to criminalise upskirting

Friday, June 15, 2018

Government-backed plans to criminalise upskirting have been derailed after being opposed by a Conservative grandee.

There were cries of "shame!" as Sir Christopher Chope dealt a blow to campaigners after announcing he objected to the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill which would make it illegal for offenders to take a picture under someone's clothing without their consent.

The Government stated its support for making upskirting a specific criminal offence hours before Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse's Private Members' Bill received its second reading in the Commons on Friday.

It was the crucial backing campaigners - including upskirting victim Gina Martin, 26, and her legion of famous supporters - were hoping for after months of meetings with the Ministry of Justice to thrash out terms for suitable legislation.

But the Bill - which would have progressed to the ammendment stage before returning to the Commons and the Lords and, later, receiving Royal Ascent - was scuppered by veteran Christchurch MP Sir Christopher, despite the best efforts of Ms Hobhouse to get him on side from the backbenches earlier in the session.

It means the Bill will have to return for another Friday Private Members Bill session, on July 6, if it is to have any hope of becoming law this Parliamentary term.

Even then, it would only take one dissenting voice to again put a stop to its progress.

Home Office minister Victoria Atkins, also minister for women, and Tory MP Will Quince (Colchester) were among those who said "shame" when the Bill was blocked.

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