The Tory who blocked the upskirting law is somehow even worse than you’d expect

Christopher Chop and Margaret Thatcher
John Shafthauer

On Friday 15 June, Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope objected to a bill that would make upskirting illegal. His objection will delay the progress of the bill becoming law. But why did he do it?

Libertarian Tories

Chope and other ‘libertarian’ Conservatives often object to private members’ bills on principle, as they regard them as:

politically correct, nanny state nonsense seeking to meddle in people’s lives and curb their personal freedom.

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There are some claims that Chope didn’t even understand what upskirting is. But his voting record shows he frequently objects to laws that support women. And not just women.

Record

Lowlights from Chope’s voting record shows that he:

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  • Consistently voted against equal gay rights.
  • Consistently voted against the hunting ban.
  • Generally voted against laws to promote equality and human rights.
  • Almost always voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability.
  • Consistently voted against allowing marriage between two people of same sex.
  • Generally voted against measures to prevent climate change.
  • Consistently voted against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords.
  • Consistently voted for mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities.

If you delve into the other things Chope has supported, things get even worse.

Climate Fool

Chope’s time in politics has seen him:

  • 1986-90: promoted to parliamentary under secretary by PM Margaret Thatcher. In that role, he steered through the disastrous poll tax legislation.
  • 2009: attempted to introduce a minimum wage opt-out for employees. He claimed the right to work for less money was a “basic human right”.
  • 2010: being involved in ‘Climate Fools’ Day’ – a gathering of climate change sceptics at the Palace of Westminster.
  • 2013: getting in trouble for referring to House of Commons staff as “servants”.
  • 2014: voting against the equal pay transparency bill. Since the law’s introduction, it’s been revealed that 78% of monitored companies pay men more than women.

Also in 2013, Chope was part of the ‘Alternative Queen’s Speech’. This proposed:

  • Reinstatement of the death penalty.
  • A face covering ban that would include burkas.
  • The bank holiday in late August to be known as MARGARET THATCHER DAY.
  • Diminishing sexual impropriety laws in the workplace.
  • The reintroduction of national service for young people.

Despite all this, Chope was made a knight bachelor in the 2018 New Year honours list. And it was Theresa May who gave it to him – alongside several other influential backbenchers. At the time, there were accusations of “cronyism”.

Response

Blocking the upskirting law has rightfully caused widespread disgust:

Chope also once filibustered a bill that would make revenge evictions a criminal offence. This is particularly troubling, as Chope is also a private landlord.

Reward and reprehensibility

Despite Chope’s opposition, it looks like violating women with upskirting photographs will eventually be illegal. Chope’s record does show two things though. Firstly, that the Conservative Party has some of the worst MPs this country has to offer. And secondly, that there’s no act so depraved it can stand between a politician and the honours list.

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Featured image via Chris McAndrew – Wikimedia / Williams, US Military – Wikimedia

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