Requirement to amend guidance

Part of Miscellaneous – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 5th September 2018.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 6:30 pm, 5th September 2018

My purpose in saying “Object” was that I wanted the Bill to be scrutinised, and full marks to the Government—I do not always give them full marks—for recognising that this was a Bill that could be properly scrutinised only if it became a Government Bill. So did I achieve my objective? Yes, I did. I am pleased that the Government have done this. I am sure that the hon. Lady, having seen the strength of some of the amendments and new clauses, will reflect on the fact that if the Bill had been left as a private Member’s Bill for her to steer through, she would have been under pressure from the Government throughout. They would have told her not to accept any amendments, and that if she did, the Government would prevent the Bill from making progress. The Bill would have been vulnerable as a private Member’s Bill—that is particularly true when a Bill reaches the other place.

Mr Speaker, I know that I am going to be told that I am straying from the amendments that I am seeking to address, and I apologise if I am doing that. I am hoping to establish support for amendment 1, tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke, to ensure that the Bill delivers what it says on the tin. The Minister said that she was going to outlaw upskirting, and judging by the correspondence that I have had, most people assumed that that was what was going to be delivered. But then when one looks at the detail of the Bill’s financial implications, one works out that the Government are banking on it costing only £230,000 a year to a prosecute all these offences. When one divides that by £8,000, which is the cost of each case, one comes up with a figure of 29 prosecutions a year. If Wera Hobhouse had gone out into the street in her constituency and said, “I’m bringing forward this really important piece of legislation that will result in 29 prosecutions a year,” I am unsure whether people would have thought that it was as significant as it was being portrayed.