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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones BS: 'Object!' (Upskirting) (149* d) RE: BS: 'Object!' (Upskirting) 18 Jun 18

Private Members' Bills are odd things. Parliamentary procedures (even without the "object" mechanism) mean that very few of them ever go beyond the first stage, and they are mainly a means for an MP to bring a matter to the notice of other MPs and the public. Few if them are ever expected to become law.

Occasionally they are used for matters which the government supports but which for some reason it won't put forward itself. Sir Christopher objects on principle to matters which might end up on the statute book being nodded through a virtually empty chamber on a Friday afternoon (when most MPs are travelling back to their constituencies). Perhaps he has a point. If a matter is important enough to become law then arguably that should be introduced as part of a proper Bill and properly debated. He has now confirmed that if the upskirting proposal were to be put forward in this way he would support it.

I suspect many of those who are upset by this would be equally outraged if something they disapproved of - perhaps his own PMB about the NHS - were to go through 'on the nod' without debate.

Whilst the basic principle of an upskirting law is probably not controversial, it is essential that it is correctly drafted and thoroughly scrutinised so that it only reaches the intended targets. For example, it was pointed out that on the same day the newspapers had published photos of Katy Perry's latest show including dancers showing their knickers. Presumably these are not intended to be covered by the proposed legislation, the difficulty is drafting it to say so.

Whether it is appropriate for a single MP to be able to block a PMB is a matter for Parliament. Possibly the furore around this matter will cause the appropriate bodies to look again at the procedures.

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