Sir Christopher Chope blasts Tory colleagues but says he backs upskirting ban 'wholeheartedly'

Posted On: 
17th June 2018

The Conservative MP who sparked fury after blocking a government-backed bid to make it illegal to take 'upskirt' photos of people has said he does support banning it.

Christopher Chope sparked controversy last Friday when he opposed the bill
PA Images

Sir Christopher Chope hit back at what he branded “scapegoating” from party colleagues, after being roundly criticised for shouting "object" to the bill as it went through the House of Commons.

The move meant the legislation, brought forward by Lib Dem Wera Hobhouse and backed by Theresa May is now not guaranteed to progress to the next stage.

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The Christchurch MP told the Bournemouth Daily Echo that he agreed the act was “vulgar, humiliating and unacceptable” and said had been misrepresented by fellow Tories.

“I feel a bit sore about being scapegoated over this," he said.

"The suggestion that I am some kind of pervert is a complete travesty of the truth. It's defamatory of my character and it's very depressing some of my colleagues have been perpetuating that in the past 48 hours.”

Sir Christopher said he had objected to the bill on a point of principle, because he opposed ministers “abusing parliamentary time” by “bringing in what it wants on the nod” - a practice he likened to to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

"But this is something I have fought for in most of my time as an MP and it goes to the very heart of the power balance between the government and Parliament,” he added.

"The Government is abusing parliamentary time for its own ends and in a democracy this is not acceptable."

Mr Chope also confirmed that he had explained his reasoning for the move to campaigner Gina Martin, herself a victim of upskirting, who he said “understood” his motivations.

Blasting colleagues, he said: "None of them phoned me up to ask me to explain my actions. Why would they want to humiliate one of their own colleagues?

“Hopefully when this does get into the statute book, they will accept I was right but maybe that's asking for the moon."

The Prime Minister said on Friday she was "disappointed" that the bill would not progress and this morning struggled to give a straight answer when asked why Sir Christopher had been knighted six months ago despite a string of controversial stances. But she said ministers would give government time to a fresh bid to outlaw the practice.

The blocked bill - tabled by Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse and backed by MPs from across the House - would have created a new offence in England and Wales which specifically clamped down on the use of covert photography "to obtain sexual gratification or cause humiliation, distress or alarm".

It would have seen those convicted of the offence facing jail terms of up to two years or hefty fines.