Conservative MPs line up to kick lumps out of Christopher Chope
Nobody knows why the veteran Tory MP is so opposed to making ‘upskirting‘ a sexual offence.
To say that Christopher Chope’s fellow Tory MPs are a tad annoyed with him would be something of an understatement.
Chope took an axe to the Tory brand when he bizarrely blocked a private members’ bill to make ‘upskirting‘ a sexual offence. The bill had been tabled by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who had secured support from ministers - making Chope’s decision to shout “object!” especially unhelpful.
Speaking after the bill's blocking, Hobhouse fumed: “It is outrageous that a single member of parliament has today been able to derail a much needed and universally supported change in the law.”
And she was not the only MP to express their displeasure.
Home Office minister Caroline Nokes took a swipe at her colleague, tweeting: “Hugely disappointed to see a colleague block a bill to protect women from so-called ‘upskirting’ today. No woman should ever face such an abhorrent act with no recourse to prosecution. Completely unfathomable.”
Foreign affairs select committee chair and potential Tory-leader-in-waiting Tom Tugendhat was also quick to distance himself from the veteran backbencher: He stated: “This is shaming. The Conservatives I joined believe in human dignity and welcoming ideas that protect our community. The Gov backed the bill to stop #upskirting because there’s no excuse for playing political games with people’s lives. Chope is wrong and should apologise.”
But the best burn was administered by Boris Johnson's private secretary Conor Burns. He jibed: "Embarrassing behaviour by Chris Chope this afternoon. Not for the first time. I share a constituency boundary with him. But clearly not a century."
Meanwhile it emerged that on a Tory WhatApp group, Richard Benyon MP wanted answers. He posted: “Is anyone getting flak about Chris Chope objecting to Voyeurism bill? If you are on this Chris could you explain why the hell you want to do something that alienates so many people? An explanation would be really kind.”
Step forward Zac Goldsmith. The former Tory London mayoral candidate noted that Chope had previously blocked bills to pardon Alan Turing, prevent ‘revenge evictions’, ban wild animals in circuses and restrict hospital parking charges.
He told his fellow Tory MPs: “He couldn’t give a toss. Loves the attention, which is why he keeps doing it.”