Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse and campaigner Gina Martin have today announced that they are working with the Ministry of Justice to make 'upskirting' a specific sexual offence.
(From left to right - Jess (Wera Hobhouse's assistant), Rt Hon Wera Hobhouse MP (Liberal Democrat MP for Bath), Gina Martin (a key campaigner on the issue of 'upskirting') and Ryan Whelan (Gina's lawyer)
After securing the Prime Minister’s commitment to consider Wera Hobhouse’s Bill at PMQs last week, Wera, Gina and lawyer Ryan Whelan (Gibson Dunn) have been working on the details of law reform with the Ministry of Justice.
In order to ensure there is sufficient time to agree further details with the Government, Wera has confirmed that she - on behalf of the campaign - has agreed to push back the second reading until Friday 15 June.
Liberal Democrat MP for Bath Wera Hobhouse said:
“I am delighted to see that the Ministry of Justice are listening to - and working with - Gina, Ryan and I to ensure that 'upskirting' becomes an offence in all circumstances. We are getting closer and closer to achieving our goal and the latest discussions regarding the Bill have been very promising.
“We are now in the final stages of agreeing the detail and it is for that reason we have mutually agreed to push back the second reading until Friday 15 June. This will give us the time necessary to ensure the Bill has the full support of the Government.
“We must keep up the pressure to ensure that this receives as much support from Parliament as possible so we can finally make 'upskirting' what it should be: a specific criminal offence."
Gina Martin added: “Pushing back the second reading date gives us the time we need for the MoJ and our lawyer Ryan Whelan to discuss the legal details that will make sure the reform put before Parliament is appropriate, agreeable and robust in ensuring that 'upskirting' can be prosecuted in all circumstances.
“Wera, Ryan and I are really happy with the progress so far, and the support we've received from all parties – and, of course, the public – is so appreciated. We're getting closer to properly protecting the women and girls of England and Wales.”