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Gross: A Tory politician blocked a bill to ban upskirting


Today (June 15), a proposed law was brought to parliament to make ‘upskirting’ a criminal offence. Led by activist Gina Martin, it’s been a tireless campaign to make the act of taking non-consensual pictures of a person’s genitals in public illegal. But the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill, which looked like a sure thing, was halted after Tory MP Christopher Chope objected to its second reading.

The frustrating and frankly shocking move was met with cries of “shame” from other politicians present in the House of Commons. Weirdly, a bill can be blocked if just one MP shouts “object”.

Philip Davies, a Tory MP for Shipley, who took advantage of a parliamentary rule that let him speak for as long as he wanted, pushed the sessions debate after 2.30pm. After this deadline, MPs can delay the passage of any bills by replying with their objections. So together, today, two Tory MPs just helped block a law that protects people from violations of privacy that have proved rampant across the UK. What is with these dudes? Who wants to out themselves as pro-upskirting? Why is this the hill they want to die on? Guys, you’re oddballs.

As it stands, victims of upskirting can only press charges and seek prosecution through other indirect motions, like harassment or public indecency. A law surrounding upskirting is in place in Scotland. 

Gina Martin began a huge online campaign after a man who took pictures up her skirt at a London music festival could not be prosecuted by police. In a statement, Martin said she was “extremely upset and disappointed” by Chope’s move, but remained “positive and hopeful”. She added that she had spoken to the MP and had arranged to meet with him to hear out why he objected, and hopefully make him a supporter of the law. 

So what’s his position on upskirting? Chope has made no official statement on why he chose to block a law that would make a violating, and misogynist act illegal. We know that Philip Davies is proudly anti-feminist, using his position to object to issues surrounding domestic violence, and speaking at men’s rights events. He sucks.

Read our interview with activist Gina Martin on her anti-upskirting email here.