Monday, 12 November, 2018

New law to ban 'upskirting' blocked by one Tory MP

The UK government is backing a law to criminalize upskirting The UK government is backing a law to criminalize upskirting
Steven Clarke | 17 June, 2018, 09:07

Sir Christopher has yet to speak out about his intervention, but upskirting victim Gina Martin - who started the campaign for the new law - said he told her he objected "on principle" because it "wasn't debated".

She added that she had spoken with the Conservative MP since his interjection and hoped he would soon become a supporter of the bill.

The move was triggered when Tory grandee Sir Christopher Chope, the 71-year-old MP for Christchurch in Dorset, shouted down the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill at the second reading stage in the Commons on Friday, prompting derision from his Conservative colleagues and campaigners alike.

It will be returned to the house for another Friday Private Members Bill session on July 6, again with government support.

"Whilst we are disappointed this Bill did not pass second reading today, we look forward to supporting these measures through the House at the earliest possible opportunity".

But Justice Minister, Lucy Frazer said she was confident Sir Christopher's actions would not scupper the Bill in the long term, although the Ministry of Justice stopped short of setting a time frame on when it would become law.

Although the legislation had been endorsed by the government, as it was a bill introduced by a backbench lawmaker, a single objection like Chope's was enough to block it.

Taliban and Afghans hug and take selfies during unprecedented ceasefire
It overlaps with an Afghan government cease-fire which was due to end on Wednesday before the Afghan president extended the truce. The Afghan president said the Taliban can now receive normal assistance and benefits like all civilians.

UK Justice Minister Lucy Frazer called the practice "a disgusting invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed".

The incident prompted her to begin a campaign to make upskirting a punishable criminal offence in the United Kingdom.

Ms Martin said she remained "hopeful" and had arranged a meeting to discuss it with Sir Christopher. "We knew this was a risk - but I now stand with powerful, passionate women and men behind me".

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. It's just he doesn't like private member's bills and certainly doesn't like them when they come from other parties.

She started a campaign to change this, and the new law specifically refers to this type of sexual crime and can see those who do it placed on the sex offenders register.

Upskirting already is illegal in Scotland.

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