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Upskirting ban set to become law after Theresa May takes matters into her own hands

Mirror logo Mirror 18-06-2018 Dan Bloom
a person walking down a street: 'Upskirting' is not currently a criminal offence © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited 'Upskirting' is not currently a criminal offence

A ban on 'upskirting' is set to become law after all after Theresa May took matters into her own hands.

Her Cabinet was moved to act after Tory MP Christopher Chope blocked progress of a law, drawn up by a Lib Dem MP, in the House of Commons.

Sir Christopher's actions prompted fury from his own party and a revenge attack festooning his Parliamentary office door with lingerie.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Tory Christopher Chope blocked progress of a law to make upskirting an offence © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Tory Christopher Chope blocked progress of a law to make upskirting an offence Now the original Bill will be adopted as a 'government Bill', which makes it impossible for one angry MP to block, Downing Street has announced.

No10 said the Bill will hopefully get its second reading - the first hurdle on the road to becoming law - before MPs go on their summer holiday next month.

With wide cross-party and government support, there is now no obvious reason why it will not progress to become law.

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The legal change was agreed this morning at a meeting of the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister told her colleagues upskirting "is an invasion of privacy, which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed," her spokesman said.

Yet the Cabinet did not discuss reforming the process for future backbench laws - or even mention Sir Christopher's name, No10 admitted.

Mrs May's spokesman said: "Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, said [Lib Dem MP] Wera Hobhouse had championed legislation to address this issue and brought it before parliament.

a large red chair in a room: Sir Christopher's office door has been festooned with lingerie in a revenge attack © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Sir Christopher's office door has been festooned with lingerie in a revenge attack "She said the measure is one the government supports and has received extensive support both in and outside of parliament.

"So she was pleased to confirm we will adopt this as a government Bill.

"The aim is to secure second reading as soon as possible, and before the summer recess."

Ms Hobhouse's Private Member's Bill would have made taking photos up women's skirts without consent a specific criminal offence.

It was easily backed by enough MPs to win any vote in the Commons.

a group of people standing in a room: Theresa May, pictured at a hospital today, took matters into her own hands © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Theresa May, pictured at a hospital today, took matters into her own hands Yet Sir Christopher and another Tory MP, Philip Davies, used arcane rules to talk for four hours which meant there was no time to debate the Bill on Friday.

Sir Christopher then shouted "object", which meant the Bill could not pass its first hurdle without debate - and was instead postponed until at least July.

The Commons Procedure Committee is now poised to launch a probe into reforming the rules, the Mirror has learned.

The Committee has twice recommended reform in the past and twice been knocked back - once under David Cameron and once under Theresa May.

Chairman Charles Walker told the Mirror: "I've been a leading proponent of reform and I am aways pleased to take representations from colleagues.

"We would consider basically dusting down a lot of our proposals that we put to the government before the 2017 general election."

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