Sir Christopher Chope, a huge prat.
Photo: UK Parliament

In an effort to console Americans by proving that their country’s politics aren’t alone in being completely fucking mental, let me bring you this story from my homeland: A Conservative member of Parliament blocked a bill that would have made upskirting—surreptitiously taking photos up a woman’s skirt without her consent—a criminal offense punishable by up to two years in prison.

Sir Christopher Chope blocked the bill by shouting “Object!” in Parliament, the BBC reported on Friday—you know, the normal way to prevent progress on misogyny.

Other members of the usually-revolting Conservative party and the current Conservative government have strongly rebuked their colleague for blocking the bill, which was backed by the government.

The bill would have created a new criminal offense for upskirting, as there’s currently no law specifically naming and banning the act. Police officers are currently only able to prosecute “offences of outraging public decency or as a crime of voyeurism.” Only Scotland currently has a law on the books criminalizing upskirting.

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The bill was also a private members bill, which sounds like a bill that refers exclusively to Wots In Yer Knickers but is actually a bill introduced by a member of Parliament rather than the government. Chope is “a leading member of a group of backbench Conservatives” who regularly object to private members bills to ensure that “well-meaning but flabby legislation is not lazily plopped on to the statue book by a few MPs on a poorly attended Friday sitting,” according to the BBC. (Apparently I am the only person from Britain with a name that doesn’t come straight from a P.G. Wodehouse novel.)

However, in addition to his principled stand against private members bills, Sir Chope of Christchurch (really!) is also apparently a bit of a plonker about the issue itself. Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, who introduced the bill, told The Guardian that the Conservative MP “hardly knows what upskirting is.” Maybe it’s time to find out, mate!!!