Open Letter to Christopher Chope


Dear Chris Chope,

We are writing to you on behalf of our constituents in Manchester, and on behalf of the opposition group on Manchester City Council.

It is an unquestionable right for an individual to have respect over their own body. Ownership of one's private body is a principle that should protect everyone in our society. When a person lets down their guard it is rightfully considered a demonstration of trust and vulnerability. When someone violates that trust, there is a serious violation of a human right.  
 
When a woman is not protected in law, in the case when a person takes a picture under their skirt without their permission and without consideration of personal boundary or vulnerability, we accept a society that produces gender inequality, a society that says "its okay to objectify women", and a society where a person can not express themselves without fear of sexual harassment.
 
In deciding to block this bill, you have chosen to express the lowest form of male ignorance. Wera Hobhouse MP's bill brought together the political divide in our parliament to clearly legislate against the act of up-skirting. It brought England in line with legislation that already exists in Scotland and Wales. By objecting to it you have made women's rights in England substantively less that the rights of women in Scotland and Wales.
 
You have already shown yourself to be on the wrong side of history in almost all of your views, from women's right to gay rights and worker's rights.
 
It is not our place to pass judgement on behalf of the residents of Christchurch but it is our place to pass on the anger and frustrations of the decent people of Manchester and the North West of England. Yet again you have blocked justice; just as you did when asked to pardon Manchester born war hero Alan Turing and when the nation cried out for justice for the 96 people that died at Hillsborough.
 
You have brought shame upon our Parliament and let down colleagues from across the house who fought to move our society forward, you have let down women who have been victims of this vile act and you have let down decent, forward-thinking people, men and woman, who want to live in a world that views invasions of deep personal privacy a criminal act.
 
Yours,
 
Cllr. John Leech
Leader of the Opposition
 
Cllr. Richard Kilpatrick
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
 
Manchester City Council

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