Christopher Chope clashes with Kearns in Commons debate

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The Conservative MP for Christchurch was being slammed by fellow Tory MP for Rutland and Melton Alicia Kearns during a debate. The parliamentary spat followed Mr Chope’s decision on Monday to block the ratification of a report that found disgraced Conservative MP Owen Paterson had breached lobbying rules, with Mr Chope lashing out with a comment which sparked fury in the Commons. The clash came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a letter sent to Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle which has called for the Code of Conduct of MP’s to be updated in order to restore the confidence of the public.

Ms Kearns told the Commons: “I recognise that the member is keen to make sure this parliament has its time to have its say

“But we have had almost four and a half hours of debate on this issue already.

“Do our constituents not deserve to for us to focus on actually delivering those promises we made to them and things that matter to them?

“Rather than spending the time here trying to deny things which would have had the same outcome no matter what.”

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She went on to slam “how much time does he [Mr Chope] want to give” questioning “is it ten hours, five hours, fifteen hours?”.

The MP for Rutland and Melton added “when will it be enough” as she tore further into Mr Chope for triggering the debate through objection on Monday evening.

Mr Chope hit back saying: “Shall I express shock or outrage, Mr Speaker, at what my honourable friend has said?”

But in a comment which sparked utter fury from MP’s for its blatant sexism, Mr Chope slammed: “Clearly in the times in which she has been referring…

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“She hasn’t applied her mind… to the principle issue!”

A shocked Ms Kearns rolled her eyes as she slammed “yes, I am a woman!” in sarcastic acknowledgment of Mr Chope’s comments.

MPs across the Commons could be heard shouting their disapproval to the MP for Christchurch’s choice of words.

Trying to shout over the noise of anger Mr Chope insisted he was carrying out the “principle issue” of being an MP and a legislator. 

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He said: “The Government encouraged everybody, including her probably, to vote for a motion on the 3rd November. That motion was passed by resolution of this House.

“And for that motion to be rescinded or changed is a matter for this House rather than for the executive or the government.”

Mr Chope’s comments sparked uproar on social media as well, with Twitter user Jack Dodman saying: “Wonder if the woman of Christchurch are happy that this man best represents their interests? Wonder if the local Tory party feels the same?”

Others, while not appreciative of the language, conceded Mr Chope had a point in insisting procedure should be followed.

User Simon Barker said: “Chope does have a point, in this case, the Executive can’t dictate to Parliament to overrule a vote of Parliament, and you can’t change that principle based on the subject matter- even whipping does allow MPs to debate and vote against the whip.”

PJ Todd added: “I can’t believe I am agreeing with Chope, but he’s right. Otherwise the Government is more important than parliament and that’s bad isn’t it?”

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