UK bill to make 'upskirting' an offence is blocked by a single MP

Christopher Chope objected to it in London's House of Commons

UK bill to make 'upskirting' an offence is blocked by a single MP

Christopher Chope speaking in the House of Commons, London | Image: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

In Britain, a proposed law to make "upskirting" a specific criminal offence there has been blocked by an MP.

The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill was stopped in its tracks when Christopher Chope objected to it being given a second reading in the House of Commons.

The bill, which was proposed by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse and supported by ministers, was expected to go through on Friday.

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

Britain's Minister for Women Victoria Atkins was among those who cried "shame" after Mr Chope's intervention.

The bill will be debated next on July 6th, but will only take one dissenting voice to put another stop to its progress.

Ms Hobhouse tsaid it was a "petty thing to do".

"I think it's very frustrating and annoying that one MP can block a consensus that had been built over several months," she said.

"It's really annoying we couldn't make progress."

She added that "every month matters", pointing out festival season was approaching.

Upskirting victim Gina Martin (26) launched the campaign after two men took a picture up her skirt while at a festival in 2017.

In a statement, Ms Martin admitted she knew Mr Chope's scepticism was a "risk" but that "I'm positive and hopeful that he will become a supporter".

A British government spokesman said: "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."

Currently, victims in England and Wales are forced to seek prosecution through other legal avenues - such as outraging public decency or harassment.

A specific law against upskirting already exists in Scotland.