Who is Christopher Chope and why did the Tory MP block the FGM Children Act ammendment?

Here’s what you need to know about Christopher Chope and why he is objecting to child protection proposals linked to female genital mutilation.

Who is Christopher Chope?

The 71-year-old Sir Christopher was born in Putney and educated at Marlborough College and St Andrews University, where he studied law.

After graduating he worked as a barrister and was first elected to Parliament as the MP for Christchurch in 1971.

He served as a minister in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major and held shadow ministerial posts under William Hague and Michael Howard.

Why did the Tory MP block the FGM Children Act ammendment?

Sir Christopher is a leading member of a group of backbench Conservatives who scrutinise legislation they feel to be well meaning but badly thought out, the BBC reported

Their mission is to ensure such laws are not passed by a few MPs on a poorly attended Friday sitting, when many colleagues have already left for their constituencies.

He insists on proper scrutiny, and he has spent most Commons Fridays for the last 20 years doing that.

Under House of Commons procedures bills are presented for a second reading without debate – unless an MP shouts 'object'.

If they do then the proposed legislation has to be presented again.

Sir Christopher objects on principle to legislation being passed without debate and, as he sees it, proper scrutiny at the second reading stage.

On Friday he shouted "object" when the title of the Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill was read out in the Common.

The arcane procedure meant the bill could not proceed.

The ammendment was intended to stop young kids being taken abroad by their parents to undergo the horrific and permanently damaging procedure.

Though the government backs the proposal it's a been put forward by Tory backbencher Zac Goldsmith meaning it will struggle to find parliamentary time.

Sir Christopher’s stance angered fellow MPs including many fellow Tories.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "outraged" by Sir Christopher's actions, saying they were "wrong, pure and simple”.

But responding to the criticism Sir Christopher said accused MPs of “indulging in virtue-signalling rather than looking at the substance”.

He added: "My constituents know what I am doing. We are having letters saying 'what is Parliamentary democracy all about?' I object to Bills going through undebated at second reading.

"People are muddling up the substance of the matter. You could virtue signal. We could do all of our law by emotion rather than by debate."

The MP rose to notoriety last year when he intervened to block a bill outlawing upskirting – when men take photos up women's skirts.

His Commons office was festooned with underwear in protest.



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