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Boris Johnson Has Said Cyber Flashing Should Be Made Illegal

Boris Johnson Has Said Cyber Flashing Should Be Made Illegal
3 min read

Boris Johnson has told a parliamentary committee that cyber flashing – the practice of sending unsolicited sexual images - should be made illegal in the UK.

During an oral evidence hearing of the Liaison Committee this afternoon, the Prime Minister described cyber flashing as “a scourge that is developing”.

“I don’t care whether flashing is cyber or not, it should be illegal,” Johnson told the committee.  

“If we can do something in the Online Harms Bill to stop cyber flashing, which is something that is clearly a scourge that is developing, (we should),” he added.

During the evidence session, Johnson was grilled on the issue of sexual harassment, and how the problem in its various forms is policed.

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, a member of the committee panel, asked Johnson whether he believes sexual harassment should be made a crime. 

Earlier this week Nokes accused the Prime Minister’s father, Stanley Johnson, of inappropriately touching her in 2003. He has denied the allegation, saying he has “no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all”.

But the Prime Minister appeared to rule out the suggestion that sexual harassment could be made a crime. 

“Rather than expand the sphere of activity that we criminalise, we need to prosecute people more effectively and more successfully for the things that are already criminal," he said.

“There is an abundance of statutes that are not now being properly enforced. That’s where we’re putting our investment into."

Nokes also asked the Prime Minister whether the government should enforce early intervention "before those who are harassing women become sex offenders".

Johnson said he believed "women should have the confidence to come forward and denounce the harassment or crime against them that they have experienced" but again pointed to existing mechanisms for investigating those claims. 

During the Liaison Committee hearing Johnson also apologised for not wearing a mask during a hospital visit in Northumberland.

The Prime Minister was pictured without a face covering in Hexham Hospital on Monday last week, hours before a Westminster debate on parliamentary standards, which Johnson did not attend.

Following the visit, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust confirmed that mask wearing is compulsory inside Hexham Hospital.

Johnson says he only went without a mask for a short time period. He was also pictured wearing a mask. 

“It was barely 30 seconds where I wasn’t wearing a mask," he told Labour MP Yvette Cooper during today's hearing. 

“I walked out of the room mistakenly not wearing it, I then put it on as soon as I realised I made that mistake.

“I apologise for it, but most pictures of my visit to the hospital show that I was duly masked throughout the remainder of the visit.

“I was masked on the way into the visit. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to clear that up.”


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