The UK Parliament attempted to make a show of solidarity on Friday, standing up for something that everyone can agree on: it’s wrong to secretly look up women’s skirts, and even worse when the action is recorded.
Then, as some Brits would say, one MP bollocksed up the attempt.
From the BBC:
Sir Christopher Chope has faced criticism from his own party for objecting to the private member’s bill.
If passed, someone who takes a photo under a victim’s skirt in England and Wales could face two years in prison.
The PM said she was “disappointed” the bill had failed to progress.
The bill was expected to sail through the Commons on Friday, but parliamentary rules mean it only required one MP to shout “object” to block its progress.
So, of course, Chope was alone in shouting “object”.
Condemnation was quick to come from all angles, ranging from his colleagues to UK citizenry on Twitter. Another MP, Wera Hobhouse (whose bill it was) went so far as to expose it as a simple way to show consensus during troubled times. From the Guardian:
Hobhouse said she was furious at Chope’s objection, which prompted calls of “shame”, including from the Tory frontbenches.
“I don’t think he actually has any substantive problems with the bill,” she told the Guardian. “He hardly knows what upskirting is, I think. It’s just he doesn’t like private member’s bills and certainly doesn’t like them when they come from other parties.
“It was meant to be a good news story. We were all lining up to say, this is a modern crime and the government is keeping up with crime created by modern technology, which particularly affects young women and children. It is very, very annoying and frustrating that objections to procedure take precedence for him over the right thing to do.”
Chope is a prominent part of a group of backbench Conservatives who try to keep excessive laws from being put on the books, particularly laws which may result in fines and jail time, such as the Upskirting law. Not being intimately familiar with either the law or the practice, he chose to object until the law could be more comprehensively debated. That is certainly a solid and defensible position, but one that arguably should have been bypassed for the day.
Instead, it has people focused on his previous actions.
Sir Christopher Chope, the MP who today blocked the passage of the Bill to criminalise upskirting, later admitted to @beaniegigi that he had no idea what upskirting is.
Here are some highlights of this man’s proud career.
If there’s a wrong side of an issue, he’s on it. pic.twitter.com/ylBiOELcxi
— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) June 15, 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she expects an upskirting law to be passed soon. (Sky News)