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Underwear hung around British politician’s offices after he blocks ‘upskirting’ ban

Arcaid/UIG via Getty Images
Arcaid/UIG via Getty Images

(LONDON) — After a British legislator blocked a proposed bill to ban taking photos up women’s skirts without their knowledge, some protesters expressed their anger by hanging women’s underwear around his offices.

The proposed ban on “upskirting,” which is supported by Britain’s Conservative government, was blocked on Friday when Conservative Member of Parliament Christopher Chope objected as the bill was put forward in the House of Commons. The proposed law would have meant that someone taking a photo up a woman’s skirt without her consent could face up to two years in prison.

Lorna Rees, one of Chope’s constituents, tweeted a photo on Saturday of three pairs of underwear hanging on a red ribbon outside of the politician’s office in Dorset, England. “No one should be able to photo my pants unless I want them to” she handwrote on the underwear.

“Friday was desperately frustrating,” Rees wrote in a tweet. “I hope my anti-Chope constituency pant protest shows solidarity.”

On Monday, she tweeted another photo of three new pairs of underwear hung outside the MP’s constituency office.

“As the last ones were removed, I put a new set of bunting today,” Rees wrote.

A similar protest took place in the British parliament, where Chope’s office also was decorated with underwear.

After the bill was blocked on Friday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that she was “disappointed.”

“Upskirting is an invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed,” she wrote on Twitter. “I am disappointed the Bill didn’t make progress in the Commons today, and I want to see these measures pass through Parliament — with government support — soon.”

Chope has said that he backs the bill, but objected as a matter of principle because he believed it had to be properly debated.

“If a detailed bill is put before the house and it hasn’t had any debate then as a matter of principle, I block it without looking into the details of the bill because as a matter of principle, I don’t believe we should pass legislation which hasn’t been scrutinized,” he told LBC Radio, a London-based national talk radio station.

The bill was introduced by Wera Hobhouse, a Liberal Democrat, and was backed by the British government after months of campaigning by Gina Martin, an upskirting victim.

“By making upskirting a specific offense, we are sending a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated, and that perpetrators will be properly punished,” Lucy Frazer, the British justice minister, said in a statement. “Our action builds on the tireless efforts of Wera Hobhouse, Gina Martin and other campaigners, and we will ensure this Bill becomes law.”

On Monday, the British Justice Ministry said that the government would draft and introduce a new upskirting bill as soon as possible.

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