The British House of Lords voted Monday night to turn misogyny into a hate crime in England and Wales, in one of a series of defeats given by peers to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.
To categorize misogyny as a hate crime passed the House by 242 to 185 votes. The bill will return to the House of Commons so MPs can have their say.
Lords also rejected other measures proposed by the Tories in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, with Labor calling some of the plans “outrageous” – proposals to, for example, punish people who get stuck on objects, with up to 51 weeks in prison.
Conservative Baroness Newlove of the same age campaigned to change the bill to turn misogyny into a hate crime – in light of opposition from her party colleagues.
“All too often, when it comes to violence against women, society demands the perfect victim before we act,” she said. “As a society, we have rightly taken steps to recognize the seriousness of racist or homophobic crimes, but we have not yet acted against crimes driven by hatred of women.”
Johnson had himself rejected the proposal to turn misogyny into a hate crime back in October 2021, which states that the police should instead focus on “very real crimes.”
Once misogyny becomes a hate crime, judges will have the option of imposing stricter penalties if it turns out that prejudice against women is the motivation. It would also require police to record whether crimes were motivated by hatred of a person’s gender or gender.
The Tories suffered a total of 14 defeats in the late night session on Monday, including one, with one vote of 261 to 166, on plans to give police new powers to stop protests in England and Wales if they are considered too noisy and disruptive. Labor comrade Lord Hain said the government’s proposal was “the biggest threat to the right to disagree and the right to protest in my lifetime.”
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