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".
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.
Christopher Chope, the MP who blocked the upskirting private members' bill, has done the same for FGM. His supposed reasons don't appear to withstand his own hypocrisy. Do you know what FGM does to little girls, Chope? You think your Friday harrumphing's more important?— Alix Fox (@AlixFox) November 24, 2018
😠 First he objected to #upskirting Bill and now #FGM - basically holding back progress for #women & girls! Christopher Chope MP is a disgrace!— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) November 23, 2018
We'll #EndFGM !
Time to change rules in #Parliament so incompetent politicians like him can't hinder progress! https://t.co/Tkha3bKJO6
Following on from his upskirting disgrace, Tory MP Christopher Chope MP has just shouted to object to the Female Genital Mutilation Bill getting a second reading.— Rachael Swindon #GTTO (@Rachael_Swindon) November 23, 2018
There is seriously something wrong with this guy.
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 £50m aid package to help end FGM around the world.
Bravo, Now PLEASE help me get my FGM Bill (which the Government backs) through the Commons. Amazing that Chope can halt an important improvement to the protection of young girls & how ironic that he has done so (for no discernible reason) on the day you launch this initiative. https://t.co/S3LxcApwO2— Michael Berkeley (@MichaelBerkele2) November 23, 2018
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."