Conservative MP Christopher Chope blocks bill to protect children at risk from FGM

Conservative MP Christopher Chope blocks anti-FGM bill

Conservative MP Christopher Chope in the House of Commons earlier on Friday.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Conservative MP Christopher Chope, who had previously objected to a bill to criminalise upskirting, has blocked new legislation that would have strengthened laws against female mutilation.

During proceedings in the House of Commons on Friday, Mr Chope, who is the MP for Christchurch, shouted “object” - blocking a bill that would have amended the Children Act to allow the courts to issue protection orders if they think a child is at risk of FGM.

 

 

Parliamentary rules only require one MP to “object” in order to block a bill’s progress once time for debate has concluded.

The bill was tabled by Lord Berkeley and support by the government as earlier this week the prime minister invited anti-FGM campaigners to Downing Street.

 

'FGM is child abuse'

Home secretary Sajid Javid condemned Mr Chope’s behaviour.

He tweeted: “Very disappointed by this. FGM is child abuse. I am determined to stamp out this despicable and medieval practice.

“We will do all we can protect girls at risk.”

 

 

Nimco Ali, founder of anti-FGM charity Daughters of Eve, said Mr Chope's actions showed "he does no think girls at risk of FGM matter". 

“What Chope hates is women and girls. His actions and the messages we have exchanged show that he does not think girls at risk of FGM matter," she said. 

“Thank you to all those within his Party standing with me today.”

The MP argued that he blocked private members’ bills because there was not enough debate on the issues - rather than necessarily objecting to the proposed law.

The legislation has now been listed to return to the House of Commons on March 15 but is still at threat of being blocked a second time when it returns. 

Mr Chope has been contacted for a comment.