Thursday, December 2, 2021

All the bills blocked by Tory MP Christopher Chope, from upskirting and FGM to U-Turn

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The Tory backbencher prevented eight popular bills from passing through the House of Commons

The Christchurch MP’s objection meant the motion could not be approved and is the subject of a debate and full vote in the House of Commons due to take place today.

Conservative MP Christopher Chope last night blocked a motion by the Commons to reverse the controversial changes to standard parliamentary process and approve the results against Owen Paterson – who stepped down from parliament last month.

Today’s debate will allow opposition MPs to revisit the government’s handling of the Paterson scandal and criticize the Conservative Party on the allegations of filth.

Mr Chope was a lonely dissenters against the motion and is said to have prevented the U-turn as he wanted time to debate the issue.

The back bench MP is no stranger to fillibustering, a political move to force a debate on a bill to delay or prevent a decision after blocking a number of bills in the past.

Mr Chope has made a name for himself by blocking bills on numerous occasions, especially those that have received widespread public support such as a ban on upskirting, a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing who cracked the WWII code, and a debate over that Hillsborough disaster.

FGM Protection Act, February 2019

Mr Chope blocked a law aimed at protecting girls from female genital mutilation (FGM).

The FGM proposal, dubbed the Children Act 1989 (Amendment – Female Genital Mutilation), was intended to improve the 2003 Act that prohibited the practice by allowing family courts to issue interim care orders for children at risk, which simplified the process.

But the MP shouted “Object!” when the bill was submitted to the House of Commons for a second reading.

In the Commons procedure, a number of such bills are read out at the end of the business without debate and only then moved to the next phase if no MPs present orally contradicts them. If there are any objections, the bill must be submitted again for a second reading.

The change later received royal approval on March 15, 2019, making it an official law of parliament.

Upskirting Bill, June 2018

A private member bill making upskirting a specific crime punishable by up to two years in prison was blocked by Mr Chope in 2018.

The MP shouted “Objection” to force a second reading, despite government support for the bill.

The law was eventually passed and taking photos of a woman’s skirt was made a criminal offense under the Voyeurism Act. It came into force on April 12, 2019.

Women MPs of the World Conference, July 2018

Just weeks after he became known for blocking the upskirting law, Mr Chope turned down a motion to allow a global women’s conference to be held in the House of Commons.

Then Prime Minister Theresa May immediately re-applied for the event for the next day, which was accepted.

Revenge Evictions, November 2014

The MP “spoke” about a government-sponsored effort to ban tenants from eviction because they complained about poor housing conditions.

He spoke for 90 minutes and said the House had run out of time to vote on the bill.

In 2015 a law was passed preventing the eviction of tenants after a complaint.

Ban on wild animals in circuses, November 2014

The bill on wild animals in circuses was blocked on second reading by Mr Chope.

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