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MP Stella Creasy explains why she wants misogyny to become a hate crime

MPs are to vote on whether misogyny should be treated as a hate crime under new laws banning upskirting.

Labour MP Stella Creasy told ITV News she is seeking an amendment to new anti-voyeurism legislation because "she doesn't want to live in a country where women and men can't equally go about their business because of who they are."

The amendment aims to "ensure that if the crime is motivated by misogyny then that will be considered by a court as an aggravating factor" when sentencing.

The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill, which caused controversy recently when Tory backbencher Sir Christopher Chope blocked its passage to law, is back in the Commons with the support of the Prime Minister.

The so-called 'upskirting bill' will make taking unsolicited pictures under someone's clothing a crime, closing a gap in the law and allowing judges to jail offenders for up to two years.

It is due to go before the Commons on Wednesday.

Nottinghamshire Police have already been trailing this approach for two years, with varying levels of success.

In the two years since the pilot started there have been 181 reports of hate crimes, 74 of which warranted full investigation, leading to four arrests and one prosecution.

Paddy Tipping, police and crime commissioner for Nottinghamshire, told ITV News: "The local police, the local councils are serious about making sure women feel comfortable in our public places, on our streets.

In response to claims new legislation could add to police workload, Martha Jephcott, a campaigner from Citizens UK, told ITV News how officers understand the need for the law.

Martha Jephcott is a campaigner who has trained 2,000 officers in misogynistic hate crime. Credit: ITV News

The campaigner, who has already trained 2,000 police officers, said: "This was a preventative measure and was going to interrupt perpetrator behaviour, before it became an assault or domestic violence or sexual violence, so nipping it in the bud at harassment level."

Despite this, solicitor Mark Stephens told ITV News he believes the proposal discriminates against men.

He said: "Although we recognise that the gender problem for women is much greater than it is for men, we shouldn't bring forward discriminator legislation, it should be equal for all."

The amended law would allow a sentencing judge to take into account if the offender "demonstrated towards the victim of the offence hostility based on the victim having (or being presumed to have) a particular sex characteristic".

Solicitor Mark Stephens spoke to ITV News about the bill. Credit: ITV News

Ms Creasy said that MPs voting on the Bill had "a chance to help make sure everyone is free to walk our streets without fear of harassment".

She wrote on Twitter: "Ask your MP to back amendment 7 to the voyeurism bill to treat misogynistic behaviour as hate crime."

The amendment has been backed by a number of MPs including Conservative former women and equalities minister Nicky Morgan.

However, if it proves to be controversial, it could lead to further delays for the Bill, which has already suffered a setback.

Conservative MP Christopher Chope single-handedly blocked the Bill when he intervened at an earlier stage in the Commons, prompting widespread criticism.

Sir Christopher Chope blocked the bill in the Commons at an earlier stage. Credit: Parliament TV

The Tory grandee said he was acting on a long-held principle that has seen him routinely oppose backbench private members' bills.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said of Ms Creasy's amendment: "We already have robust legislation that can be used to protect women from a range of crimes.

"We are determined to see the upskirting bill passed as soon as possible, to better protect victims and bring offenders to justice."