Tory MP blocks bid to make upskirting a specific criminal offence

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A bid to make upskirting a specific criminal offence has been blocked by a Tory MP.

The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill hit the roadblocks when Christchurch MP Sir Christopher Chope objected to the bill being given a second reading in the Commons.

The Bill, which would have brought upskirting in line with other existing voyeurism offences, was expected to get the nod through the Commons after the Ministry of Justice indicated its support.

It only requires one MP to shout "object" when the title of a private member's bill is read out to halt its progress.

Cries of "shame" could be heard after Sir Christopher blocked it.

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.

Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse (Bath) asked for her Bill to return on July 6.

In a statement, campaigner Gina Miller said: "I am obviously extremely upset and disappointed that Sir (Christopher) Chope decided to object on this vitally important bill for the women of England and Wales.

"I remain positive, though. We knew this was a risk - but I now stand with powerful, passionate women and men behind me, and I am confident that (junior minister) Lucy Frazer is committed to - and will - close this gap in the law.

"Ryan (Whelan, her lawyer), Wera (Hobhouse MP) and I will be meeting with Lucy shortly to discuss how we move forward together.

"Ryan and I have just spoken with Sir Christopher and he has agreed to meet with the two of us to discuss the bill.

"I'm positive and hopeful that he will become a supporter."

A Government spokesman said: "This behaviour is a hideous invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed.

"It cannot be tolerated, so it is absolutely right that the Government supports this Bill to make 'upskirting' a specific offence.

"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."