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UPSKIRTING is on its way to become a criminal offence after the government announced yesterday that new legislation will be adopted to ban taking photos under people’s clothing.
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom told the regular weekly Cabinet meeting that securing a second reading into passing the bill was intended as soon as possible before the summer recess.
I’ve made a small protest of knicker bunting outside my MP Christopher Chope’s constituency office #upskirting #Chope #shame #christchurch #knickerstochope #upskirtingbill ‘no one should be able to photo my pants unless I want them to’ pic.twitter.com/y5vjnpncpK
— Lorna Rees (@thegobbledegook) June 16, 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May said at the meeting that upskirting was “an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed.”
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “Relentless pressure from campaigners has finally forced the government to accept that specific legislation is needed to put an end to this intrusive, abusive and sexist practice.
“Labour will continue to support this legislation through Parliament to ensure that there is a strong majority against any reactionary attempts to derail this important step towards justice.”
The decision follows Tory MP Christopher Chope’s attempt to block the progress of a back-bench bill on Friday.
His move caused outrage and four pairs of underwear, bound together with a pink ribbon, were draped across the doorway of his parliamentary office.
Green MP Caroline Lucas, who has an office near Mr Chope, took a photo of the underwear and said: “Good to see some redecorating happening in my corridor over the weekend.”
There were also protests held during the weekend outside his constituency office in Christchurch.
Mr Chope said he blocked the Bill in the Commons simply because it had “not been debated properly.”
Campaigner and upskirting victim Gina Martin said that Friday would be looked back as the day “one man tried to stand in the way of justice” and failed.
She said: “I am so happy I could cry. This is brilliant news.
“This law change started because it was important to me and then I realised it was so important to so many of us.
“We have the ability to change things if we work hard, know what we want, go about it the right way and just don’t stop.”
Without a specific law, victims in England and Wales have to seek prosecution of upskirting through other legal avenues, such as outraging public decency or harassment.
Legislation in Scotland provides for a maximum two-year jail sentence for offenders.
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