MP who blocked upskirting bill sparks outrage for blocking bill to protect women from FGM

A parliamentary bill to help protect children from female genital mutilation (FGM) has been blocked by the same Conservative MP who sought to prevent a bill to make upskirting a criminal offence.

Sir Christopher Chope, 71, who is the MP for Christchurch in Dorset, shouted “object” in the House of Commons on Friday to a second reading for the bill that had been proposed by Lord Michael Berkeley.

Yesterday, he scuttled a bill that would have given greater protection to girls at risk of the barbaric practice of FGM.

The bill had been introduced to Parliament by crossbencher Lord Berkeley, aiming to bolster the Children’s Act 1989. The one line amendment, Lord Berkeley said, would ‘considerably extend protection to young girls at greatest risk of genital mutilation.’ It was done as a private member’s bill, which Chope always objects to on point of principle.

This is despite sponsoring a number himself. Chope shouted ‘object’ to the bill getting a second reading. In Parliament the rules mean it only requires one MP to do this to block a bill’s progress once time for debate has concluded at 2.30pm on a Friday.

Lord Berkeley reacted with fury and pointed out the irony that the blocking was done on the day the UK announced a £50,000,000 donation to stop FGM in Africa. Fellow Conservative MPs have previously rounded on their backbench colleague after he objected to the upskirting bill preventing it becoming law.

Tory MP Paul Masterton said: ‘Do not underestimate just how furious many Tory MPs are about this. This kind of thing does far more damage to the public’s view of our party than endless debates about customs arrangements.’

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