The government has confirmed it will introduce legislation to ban upskirting after it was blocked by Tory MP Sir Christopher Chope.
Thanks to freelance writer Gina Martin’s great efforts, the government has confirmed it will make the act of taking sexually intrusive photos without consent a criminal sexual offence in England and Wales.
Only a few days ago, the bill was put forward by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse and blocked by one Tory MP: Sir Christopher Chope.
In the days that have followed, Theresa May has come under intense pressure from MPs to push the law through.
“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,” May wrote on Twitter on Sunday 17 June.
Additionally, in protest, Sir Chope’s constituency office was adorned with a bunting in the form of knickers after the bill was rejected.
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
However, the new legislation will make the act a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison.
In Scotland, the act is already a punishable offence.
Martin, who has led the campaign for the law to be introduced after police failed to prosecute a man who allegedly took pictures up her skirt at a music festival in London last summer, took to Twitter to share the great news.
BREAKING NEWS: The Gov, @ryantwhelan and I are proud to announce that they will be introducing an #UpskirtingBill as a Government Bill, to ensure the gap in the law is closed. 🙌🙌🙌— Gina Martin (@beaniegigi) June 18, 2018
You can find my official statement on this insanely great news below.#upskirtbill pic.twitter.com/p3R7rGAO2d
The prime minister’s official spokesman said on Monday 18 June: “The cabinet discussed upskirting, which the prime minister said is an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed.”
The PM’s spokesman added: “She was pleased to confirm that we will adopt this as a government bill. The aim is to secure second reading as soon as possible and before the summer recess”.
The PM took to Twitter to show her support: “I said at the weekend that the law should change to criminalise upskirting. I am delighted we are introducing a bill in Government time in the Commons to do just that this Thursday”.
I said at the weekend that the law should change to criminalise upskirting. I am delighted we are introducing a bill in Government time In the Commons to do just that this Thursday.— Theresa May (@theresa_may) June 18, 2018
And women have taken to Twitter to share the great news, too.
Unimpressed by the #ChristopherChope posts talking about how he has a daughter so should know better. Surely 'taking photos up women's skirts is sick and wrong' is obvious to non-pervy people even if they don't have parental relationship with a female person? #Upskirting— Laura Gordon (@LibDemLaura) June 16, 2018
I was at the Hyde Park gig with my teenage daughter and we've followed this case closely. I'm so happy for you I could cry. You're such an inspiration for young people everywhere. 💕— Rena (@startipsy) June 18, 2018
Finally, the battle has been won.