June 15, 2018 / 9:04 PM / a month ago

May 'disappointed' after colleague blocks 'upskirting' law

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday she was disappointed an MP from her Conservative party had blocked a bill to make “upskirting” - surreptitiously taking photographs up women’s skirts - a criminal offence.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Christopher Chope, 71, a veteran politician who was knighted this year, blocked the bill proposed by Liberal Dem parliamentarian Wera Hobhouse that was widely supported in the House of Commons.

Chope did not explain his reasoning publicly and was not immediately available for comment.

FILE PHOTO: General view of the interior of The Commons Chamber at the Houses of Parliament in central London November 12, 2015. REUTERS / POOL / JUSTIN TALLIS/File Photo

Commenting on Twitter, May said: “Upskirting is an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed.

“I am disappointed the Bill didn’t make progress in the Commons today, and I want to see these measures pass through Parliament - with government support - soon.”

The bill would make the crime punishable by up to two years in prison.

Dawn Butler, the Labour party spokeswoman for women and equalities, said: “What possible reason could there be to block a law that supports women and girls?”

Conservative MP Nick Boles tweeted: “In every party, there are one or two MPs whose knuckles drag along the ground. Today, unfortunately, a sensible reform to protect women was blocked by one of ours.”

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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