POLITICS
21/06/2018 18:42 BST

Upskirting Bill Should Include Crackdown On Revenge Porn, Says Senior Tory MP

Maria Miller says practise should be made specific criminal offence.

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The practise of revenge porn should be made a sexual offence as part of the government’s bid to crack down on upskirting, ministers have been told.

The government moved today to make upskirting a specific criminal offence after a backbench attempt was derailed by Tory MP Christopher Chope.

Conservative MP Maria Miller told HuffPost UK the legislation should be expanded to tackle the “scale of the misuse of images” and low conviction rates.

Miller, the chair of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee, said: “I think that there is a significant problem.

“I really welcome that upskirting will be made a criminal offence.” 

But Miller added the “swift action” by ministers did “bring into question why revenge porn wouldn’t be also classified as a sex offence”.

The former Tory cabinet minister has already met justice minister Lucy Frazer to lobby for an amendment to be added to the legislation.

Under the current laws, people convicted of disclosing intimate images in England and Wales face up to two years in prison.

In Scotland the punishment is up to five years.

But police figures show that one in three revenge porn allegations made in England and Wales since 2015 were dropped.

Miller said the practise needed to be made a specific sexual offence in order to grant victims anonymity which in turn would increase conviction rates.

Writing for HuffPost UK today, Frazer confirmed the government’s upskirting legislation would see the most serious offenders added to the sex offenders register.

“We hope this action will increase convictions, and show that this behaviour will not be tolerated,” she said.

It comes as ministers have also been lobbied to amend the upskirting Bill to make the production of fake pornography based on pictures of real people, known as “deepfake” images, a criminal offence.