‘Disgusting’ story behind knicker protest
BRITISH women are bombarding a controversial MP with their underwear after he delayed a bill which would make "upskirting" a criminal offence.
The bill had widespread support from politicians across the spectrum, including Prime Minister Theresa May.
It was also supported by the general public, who wanted to see "upskirting" - photographing under a woman's skirt without her consent - banned for good.
But late last week, conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope used parliamentary procedure to delay the passing of the voyeurism (offences) bill on upskirting.
The backlash against Sir Christopher's actions was immediate, with members of his own party slamming him in the media.
He has also been savaged online, with social media users variously labelling his stance as "disgusting", "vile" and "utter bollocks".
#UpskirtingBill so now Sir Christopher Chope wants a debate about upskirting.— E=MC2 (@tsw8848) June 18, 2018
What is there to debate you disgusting man? You had the chance but let women everywhere down. Time to replace you as MP. pic.twitter.com/nKudDWiyDT
Sir Christopher Chope defends blocking 'upskirting' bill, the man talks total bollocks. 😏 https://t.co/19ZcFO92WL— Fiendish_Swine (@Fiendish_Swine) June 18, 2018
But artist Lorna Rees decided to take that outrage a step further, by engaging in a "gentle protest" against Sir Christopher by stringing up several pairs of underwear outside his constituency office.
The knickers bear the simple but powerful slogan: "No one should be able to photo my pants unless I want them to".
In subsequent Twitter posts, Ms Rees explained: "I hope my anti-Chope constituency pant protest shows solidarity.
"He's not representing the best interests of people - protecting women in this case - he's crying parliamentary procedure and hiding."
I’ve made a small protest of knicker bunting outside my MP Christopher Chope’s constituency office #upskirting #Chope #shame #christchurch #knickerstochope #upskirtingbill ‘no one should be able to photo my pants unless I want them to’ pic.twitter.com/y5vjnpncpK— Lorna Rees (@thegobbledegook) June 16, 2018
And yesterday, a second knicker protest was spotted outside the politician's office door, although it is not known who was responsible for the latest installation.
Good to see some redecorating happening in my corridor over the weekend. Christopher Chope's door looking much better. pic.twitter.com/oPn27UCAN3— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) June 18, 2018
Women who are not able to string up their knickers in person have also been encouraged to mail their undies to Sir Christopher in a social media call-out.
In an interview with LBC radio following Sir Christopher's controversial move, he admitted to reporter Nick Ferrari he actually didn't know what upskirting meant before blocking the bill - and Mr Ferrari took him to task.
"My listeners will be puzzled that you would object to something you don't understand," he said.
"Morally, I think what you've done is indefensible."
The 71-year-old was the only member to object to the Private Members Bill, which meant it had to be debated by Parliament before it could be passed.
However, despite the delay, the UK government has since confirmed it will introduce legislation to ban upskirting.
Sir Christopher is no stranger to controversy, having previously objected to the posthumous pardoning of famous WWII codebreaker Alan Turing, who was convicted in 1952 for "gross indecency" after he admitted having a homosexual relationship - which was illegal in Britain at the time.
He underwent chemical castration and died two years later of cyanide poisoning aged 41 with an inquest ruling Mr Turing had committed suicide.
In the past Sir Christopher has also fought against bills to protect service animals from attack, to protect poor countries from vulture funds, to outlaw wild animals in circus performances, and to make revenge evictions at the hands of landlords an offence.