The MP Who Blocked The Upskirting Bill Has Now Blocked An FGM Bill

Photo: Chris Madden / Getty Images.
A parliamentary bill to make it easier to prevent female genital mutilation (FGM) of children was needlessly blocked yesterday by Sir Christopher Chope MP.
Chope, the Conservative MP for Christchurch in Dorset, caused outrage in June when he blocked the bill to make upskirting a criminal offence, temporarily stalling its eventual progress.
The i paper reports that the FGM bill was introduced to parliament yesterday by Lord Michael Berkeley. The Labour peer was seeking a one-line amendment to the Children Act 1989 that would "considerably extend protection to young girls at the greatest risk of genital mutilation".
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Parliamentary rules require just one MP to object to prevent a bill from getting a second reading, so Chope's lone cry out was enough to stall its progress yesterday.
Chope's actions have been widely and rightly condemned on Twitter. "This man is just beyond words," wrote FGM campaigner Nimco Ali.
"Can we table a bill to object to Christopher Chope shouting object?" tweeted Labour MP Stella Creasy.
Chope has not said why he chose to block the FGM bill, but it's believed he objected not to its content, but to its entering parliament as a private members' bill.
In June, Chope defended his decision to block the upskirting bill by claiming that "the government is abusing parliamentary time for its own ends" by trying to pass private members' bills that haven't been debated.
It was reported at the time that despite Chope's very public objection to private members' bills, he was actually pursuing 32 of his own.
After the FGM bill was blocked yesterday, Lord Berkeley pointed out a cruel irony: Chope's lone objection came on the same day that Penny Mordaunt MP, the Secretary of State for International Development, announced a landmark Β£50m aid package to help end FGM around the world.
Julia Lalla-Maharajh, chief executive of anti-FGM charity the Orchid Project, hailed yesterday's government funding announcement, saying: "This investment couldn't come at a more important time, as we reach a tipping point in many countries, as more and more communities choose to stop cutting their daughters.
"The good news is that change is already happening, and we are poised on the brink of that change growing exponentially. Thousands of communities around the world have already publicly declared that they’ve abandoned [FGM], and we hope today’s investment can help snowball this flourishing grassroots movement."
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