MPs move to condemn man who blocked upskirting bill

Justice Minister Lucy Frazer called upskirting "a disgusting invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed".

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was dismayed and appalled at the action, while Tory MP Bob Neill said he has written to the Prime Minister asking that government time be made available to the allow the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill to have its second reading.

London resident Gina Martin sparked a campaign against upskirting after being victimized by the practice previous year at a London concert when a man beside her suddenly placed his phone up her legs.

A United Kingdom lawmaker has blocked a bid to criminalize upskirting, the practice of filming up people's clothing to see their genitals or underwear, just hours after the government announced its support for the measure.

"Ryan (Whelan, her lawyer) and I have just spoken with Sir Christopher and he has agreed to meet with the two of us to discuss the Bill".

The PM said she was "disappointed" the bill had failed to progress.

However, campaigners argue that current legislation does not adequately cover the practice.

In an interview published on Sunday, the Tory grandee said he was acting on a long-held principle that has seen him routinely oppose backbench private members bills.

She tweeted: "I am obviously extremely upset and disappointed that Sir Chope made a decision to object to this vitally important bill for the women of England and Wales".

Chope said he hadn't done detailed research on upskirting before opposing the bill, but supports criminalizing upskirting in theory.

However, it only takes one MP to shout "objection" in Parliament to halt a bill's progress.

Gina Martin, 26, had worked tirelessly to make upskirting a crime and had won the support of all three major political parties.

"In order to keep children and young people safe from harm we must teach them at the earliest opportunity to respect each other's privacy, to know their rights, and to understand issues around consent, coercion, and unwanted/unsafe touch". I remain positive, though.

He was met with booing and calls of "shame!" from other lawmakers.

If the bill is to become law during this Parliamentary term it will need to return for another Friday Private Members Bill session on 6 July.

A specific law already exists in Scotland and the blocked bill would have seen upskirting offenders face a maximum of two years in prison.

Some instances of "upskirting" are now prosecuted under existing public decency and voyeurism laws, but campaigners said not all instances were covered by existing criminal law.

  • Rogelio Becker