On Friday 15th June, a bill to criminalise upskirting was blocked in parliament by a single shout of ‘object’.
The private member’s bill was expected to pass without the need for a vote when Sir Christopher Chope objected.
Current parliamentary rule means that an objection by a single member of parliament can block this type of bill. It is set to return to parliament on the 6th of July.
A private member’s bill is one that is introduced by a Member Of Parliament who is not a government minister.
Government ministers are those within the cabinet of the governing party and therefore create most of the legislation that passes through parliament.
Private member’s bills take priority for only thirteen fridays during the parliamentary session – which is around a year, often from spring to spring.
Sir Christopher Chope was met with criticism following his objection, with many MP’s taking to twitter to voice their disapproval.
However, Chope says that he is not ‘a dinosaur’ and does support the bill, he just objects to the way that the legislation came about. In an interview with The Bournemouth Echo, Chope said:
But is it right to slow down important legislation on a basis of principle?
Chope claims he was ‘sticking up for democracy’ but he isn’t the person facing the consequences.
He doesn’t have to worry about that violation. Upskirting is a vile invasion of privacy.
It is sexual harassment and needs to be criminalised as soon as possible.
On Friday it could have been made an offence punishable by a maximum of two years, but for now we will have to wait.