UK MP blocks proposal to make 'upskirting' a specific criminal offence

17 Juin, 2018, 09:04 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • What is upskirting and what is the new law against it after Gina Martin campaign

Sir Christopher Chope shouted "object" to the bill, leading to cries of "shame" from other MPs.

On June 9, thousands of women in Seoul, South Korea, took to the streets to protest against upskirting and the related problem of "spycam porn", when the images or footage captured is circulated without the subject's consent.

The PM said she was "disappointed" the bill had failed to progress.

Conservative politician Nick Boles tweeted: "In every party, there are one or two MPs whose knuckles drag along the ground".

And George Freeman, who used to lead Theresa May's policy unit, said the move was "an affront to parliamentary democracy".

Minister for Women Victoria Atkins said the government will allocate time for the bill in Parliament to ensure it does not get pushed down the list of private members' bills.

Campaigner Gina Martin, who started an online campaign to outlaw upskirting previous year, said in a statement posted to Twitter that she was "extremely upset and disappointed" but remained positive. "I said, "well, I can help you with that", Ms Martin added.

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The initiative was stopped by a single Conservative Party legislator who objected when the bill was put forward in the House of Commons.

Hobhouse, who introduced the bill, told the Guardian that she thinks "he hardly knows what upskirting is" but, instead, took issue that it was a private member's bill.

Dawn Butler, Labour's shadow minister for women and equalities, said it was "absolutely disgusting" that the bill had been blocked. She said making upskirting a specific offense would send a clear message that perpetrators will be punished.

And - after all - this is a bill to create a new criminal offence, for which people can go to jail. It has become more common in recent years with the adoption of smartphones.

"Ryan (Whelan, her lawyer) and I have just spoken with Sir Christopher and he has agreed to meet with the two of us to discuss the Bill".

While instances of taking pictures under a skirt without permission can sometimes be punishable under indecency and voyeurism laws, this would have been the first law to completely cover the practice under criminal law.

In an interview with the Guardian, she said the police told her: "We've looked at the photo; it shows more than you'd want it to show but you're not going to hear much from us".

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