Government – and wider society – have a duty of care towards our most vulnerable citizens; the sick, the disabled, the poor and our children. During his time in the House of Commons, Conservative MP, Christopher Chope, has repeatedly abandoned the duty of care that comes with his position.
This starts with a lack of care towards Britain’s children, predominantly girls, by blocking amendments to the protective laws against child abuse. In this case, Chope blocked an amendment to the 1989 Children Act concerning female genital mutilation (FGM). This amendment was designed to make it easier for girls deemed ‘at risk’ of FGM to be protected by authorities. The move was expected to pass and Chope even had Nimco Ali, the founder of anti-FGM charity: Daughters of Eve, begging him to not block this vital and life-changing bill.
Beyond this, Chope’s voting history shows a consistent lack of care towards women and children alike. In 2011, he proposed the Volunteers Bill that would replace safety checks by the Criminal Records Bureau with a certificate that potential volunteers could carry on their person. The bill would make it easier for people who pose a risk to vulnerable individuals to volunteer in their safe spaces, such as social clubs or summer camps.
When confronted on the problems that the certificate would cause, Chope told fellow MPs that “to have a responsible society, we have to trust people… An individual knows whether they have a criminal record, so they should be quite capable of signing a declaration of whether they do… If they do not, and they sign a declaration to that effect, on the face of it that should be sufficient evidence that they are a fit and proper person to engage in volunteering activity.”
More recently, in June 2018, he become infamous for blocking a bill that would make upskirting – the act of taking sexually explicit photos under someone’s skirt without their consent – illegal. He was the sole objector to the proposal.
Given his lack of care towards vulnerable individuals, unsurprisingly, Chope has consistently voted for stricter immigration laws. This would make it harder for asylum seekers and refugees to settle into a safer life in Britain. He is, thus, failing the main group of people who are at risk of FGM, long before the bill was even brought to Parliament.
Christopher Chope’s blasé comments and voting history shows a reckless attitude towards the safety and wellbeing of Britain’s citizens. He simply does not have the best interests of the people at heart.
I am not the only person with this opinion. A petition was set up on change.org to remove the MP’s knighthood, which he recieved in 2018 New Year’s Honours.
Duncan Ross, who started the campaign, states, “Christopher Chope has continually abused the procedures of the House of Commons to block discussion of important legislation… Because of this we call on the Prime Minister to convene the Honours Forfeiture Committee and investigate his behaviour.”
Another petition called for him to be removed from Parliament for his negligence with comments including, “This man is a disgrace” and “his views are archaic and misogynistic. He needs to go!”
Conservative MP, Christopher Chope, is a disgrace for endangering the lives of Britain’s citizens and something needs to change!