The U.K.’s House of Lords voted Monday night to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales, in one of a series of defeats handed down by peers to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.
Categorizing misogyny as a hate crime passed the house by 242 to 185 votes. The bill will return to the House of Commons for MPs to have their say.
Lords also rejected other measures proposed by the Tories in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, with Labour calling some of the plans “outrageous” — proposals, for example, to punish people who lock themselves on to objects with up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment.
Conservative peer Baroness Newlove drove the move to amend the bill to make misogyny a hate crime — in the face of opposition from her party colleagues.
“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 acknowledge the severity of racist or homophobic crimes, but have not yet acted on crimes driven by hatred of women.”
Johnson himself had rejected the motion to make misogyny a hate crime back in October 2021, stating that police should instead focus on “very real crimes.”
Once misogyny becomes a hate crime, judges would have scope to impose stronger penalties if prejudice against women is proved to be the motivation. It would also require the police to record whether crimes were motivated by a hatred of someone’s sex or gender.
The Tories suffered a total of 14 defeats in the late-night session Monday, including one, by a vote of 261 to 166, over plans to give the police new powers to stop protests in England and Wales if they are deemed to be too noisy and disruptive. Labour peer Lord Hain said that government proposals was “the biggest threat to the right to dissent and the right to protest in my lifetime.”
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