February 08, 2019
His actions have been called 'appalling'.
Tory MP Christopher Chope has blocked a bill that would have aided the prevention of Female genital mutilation (FGM) of children.
There was an audible groan from MPs in the Commons on Friday when the 71-year-old MP shouted “object!” to the bill getting a second reading.
Parliamentary rules mean it only requires one MP to do this to block a bill’s progress once time for debate has concluded.
It is the second time he has moved to halt the progress of anti-FGM legislation.
The bill, tabled by Lord Berkeley, would amend the Children Act to allow the courts to issue protection orders if they think a child is at risk of FGM.
It is supported by the government and Theresa May restated her commitment to end the practice earlier this week when she invited anti-FGM campaigners to Downing Street.
Nimco Ali, founder of Daughters of Eve, a UK campaign charity dedicated to ending VAWG in particular FGM, tweeted her disbelief that he actually objected, adding: “Dear Chope, if I could take on the world and FGM, trust me I will take you on as well.”
Earlier she shared screenshots of a text message conversation she had with Chope begging him not to block the bill.
In his response he said he said the bill should be fully debated.
Ali tweeted: “This is dishonest. By blocking the Bill today, Chope is stopping the very debate he pretends he wants. There would still be Committee Stage, Report stage and Third Reading. The truth is, he is simply playing games and doesn’t give a stuff about vulnerable girls.
“If Christopher Chope objects to FGM being included in the Children’s Act today, I hope his knighthood and Whip are removed. A week to date we convicted someone of #FGM he wants to play politics with girls lives. I begged him last night and this is what I got from him.”
She added that his response broke her heart.
His actions were also met with criticism from both sides of the Commons.
Tory MP Zac Goldsmith said: "As anticipated, Chope objected to the FGM Bill. Just appalling.”
In a further tweet, he added: “In case anyone is tempted to believe he has a principled objection to Private Member’s Bills, please note that once again he did NOT object to those put forward by his friends.”
Meanwhile Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan tweeted Brandon Lewis, the Tory party’s chairman asking why he was allowed to get away with it.
She said: “We’ve spoken in the lobby about this sort of behaviour. Why is he continuously allowed to get away with this without reprimand?”
Chope was previously heavily criticised for deploying the same tactic to make upskirting a criminal offence.
The MP for Christchurch argued he was blocking the legislation because there was not enough debate on the issues - rather than necessarily objecting to the proposed law.
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