A parliamentary bill to help protect children from female genital mutilation (FGM) has been blocked by the same Conservative MP who sought to prevent a bill to make upskirting a criminal offence.
Sir Christopher Chope, 71, who is the MP for Christchurch in Dorset, shouted “object” in the House of Commons on Friday to a second reading for the bill that had been proposed by Lord Michael Berkeley.
The Labour peer’s proposal would’ve seen a one line amendment to the Children’s Act 1989, which would “considerably extend protection to young girls at greatest risk of genital mutilation.”
Chope’s actions sparked outrage on Twitter, with many people calling for him to be deselected and reiterating their shock when the MP blocked the upskirting bill, which has since been adopted as a governmental bill and is expected to pass in the coming months.
"Can we table a bill to object to Christopher Chope shouting object?" wrote Labour MP Stella Creasy.
"This man is just beyond words," added FGM campaigner Nimco Ali.
It’s not clear why Chope decided to block this particular bill, but in June, when he did the same with upskirting, he explained that his objection was not to the bill itself but to the procedure of legislation being passed without debate.
Speaking to the Bournemouth Echo at the time, he said: "The government has been hijacking time that is rightfully that of backbenchers. This is about who controls the House of Commons on Fridays and that’s where I am coming from [...] this is something I have fought for in most of my time as an MP and it goes to the very heart of the power balance between the government and parliament.”
He later added that he did in fact support the bid to make upskirting a criminal offence.
Chope's objection to the FGM bill came just after Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, announced she had secured a £50m aid package to help put an end to FGM.
Berkeley congratulated Mordaunt for her landmark achievement and urged her to help him get his bill passed through the Commons.
“Amazing that Chope can halt an important improvement to the protection of young girls," he wrote on Twitter, "and how ironic that he has done so (for no discernible reason) on the day you launch this initiative."
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