Theresa May declines to condemn MP for blocking upskirting bill


"Upskirting is an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed", Ms May said on Twitter.

The PM expressed her "disappointment" that the private member's Bill, which would have made upskirting a criminal offence in its own right, was delayed in the Commons.

The proposed measure would make the practice, known as "upskirting", punishable by up to two years in prison in England and Wales. It involves taking a photo or video under someone's skirt or dress without their consent.

The initiative was stopped by a single Conservative Party legislator who objected when the bill was put forward in the House of Commons.

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

So Martin chose to start a campaign to make the practice a criminal offense.

Ms Hobhouse said she was furious at the 71-year-old's objection, which prompted calls of "shame", including from a string of Tory frontbenches.

She got support from lawmakers, and on Friday, Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said the government would back the bill that Liberal Democrat lawmaker Wera Hobhouse introduced.

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It means the Bill will have to return for another Friday Private Members Bill session, on July 6, if it is to have any hope of becoming law in this Parliamentary term.

Moments after blocking the Bill, Sir Christopher also opposed Finn's Law - Government-backed plans to give police dogs and horses extra legal protections from attack.

Sir Christopher has yet to speak out about his intervention, but upskirting victim Gina Martin - who started the campaign for the new law - said he told her he objected "on principle" because it "wasn't debated".

She added that she had spoken with the Conservative MP since his interjection and hoped he would soon become a supporter of the bill.

Clare McGlynn, professor of law at Durham University and an expert on sexual violence, said: "The criminalisation of upskirting announced on Friday is a welcome first step towards a more comprehensive law protecting victims of all forms of image-based sexual abuse, which also includes so-called revenge porn".

Upskirting already is illegal in Scotland.

"Don't underestimate just how furious many Tory MPs are about this", tweeted Paul Masterton, a new MP who is 39 years Sir Christopher's junior.