Anger as Tory MP Chris Chope blocks bid to crack down on FGM

Posted On: 
8th February 2019

Tory MP Christopher Chope unleashed fury today as he blocked a proposed law to crack down on female genital mutilation.

Tory MP Chris Chope has form when it comes to blocking Private Members' Bills
Credit: 
Parliament

The Christchurch MP was branded “appalling” after he used arcane parliamentary procedure to obstruct an amendment to the 1989 Children Act.

The amendment would have allowed courts to issue protection orders over children thought to be at risk of FGM.

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But Mr Chope shouted “object” when the title of the bill, which has been backed by the Government, was announced in the Commons - killing it off for the time being.

Tory MP Zac Goldsmith said on Twitter: “As anticipated, Chope objected to the FGM Bill. Just appalling.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid added: "Very disappointed by this. FGM is child abuse. I am determined to stamp out this despicable and medieval practice. We will do all we can protect girls at risk."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "outraged" by the actions of Mr Chope, adding: "His actions are wrong, pure & simple."

Labour Women and Equalities spokesperson Dawn Butler fumed: “It’s unacceptable that this dinosaur of a Tory MP consistently gets away with blocking new laws to protect the safety and rights of women. "

It’s time for the Tories to show they care about these issues by stripping him of the whip.”

Mr Chope has drawn anger in the past for blocking bills proposed by individual MPs including one that would have made taking photos up skirts a criminal offence.

He also blocked a Private Members’ Bill that would have pardoned codebreaker Alan Turing after his conviction for homosexuality, and one that would have banned the use of wild animals in circuses.

Mr Chope has argued in the past that such bills do not receive enough scrutiny. But ahead of his lastest move Mr Goldsmith argued that was not the case. 

"If today’s Bill goes through, we will have Committee Stage, Report Stage and Third Reading – all of which involve scrutiny and debate. If it is blocked, there is no debate," he argued.

And he added: "If he is acting on principle, as he wants people to believe, why does he often allow Bills put forward by his friends to pass through unchallenged?"

Prominent FGM campaigner Nimco Ali said: "Dear Chope, if I could take on the world and FGM, trust me I will take you on as well."

Mr Chope was awarded a knighthood a year ago. Theresa May defended the decision to hand him the gong when pressed by the BBC.

A spokesman for Theresa May denied to comment when approached by PoliticsHome.