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Christchurch MP Sir Christopher Chope sparks outrage after telling female MP Alicia Kearns to 'apply her mind'

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CHRISTCHURCH MP Sir Christopher Chope sparked fury after he condescendingly told a female MP to "apply her mind", having forced another debate on parliamentary sleaze.

There were scoffs and mutterings during a Commons debate on Tuesday when the Tory backbencher replied to fellow Conservative Alicia Kearns when the pair took part in a Commons debate over standards reforms, and Labour MP Jess Phillips said she found his tone was "unacceptable as a woman”.

Ms Kearns had been urging Sir Christopher not to obstruct a bill that would have accepted the standards committee’s findings on Owen Paterson, noting the subject had already been debated for "four or five hours" and she questioned "when will it be enough?".

Sir Christopher’s reply began: "Should I express shock or outrage at what she has said? Clearly in the time she has been referring, she hasn't applied her mind to the principle issue..."

The debate the pair were part of took place because of Sir Christopher.

He was the only MP to shout "object" in the Commons when a motion was put forward over standards findings in relation to Mr Paterson.

The saga began when the standards committee ruled Mr Paterson had breached lobbying rules and should be banned from the House of Commons for 30 days – only for the government to propose setting up a new standards committee with an in-built Tory majority.

But that move provoked outrage and an eventual government U-turn, and, as a result, Mr Paterson resigned his seat and the government said it would drop its plan.

The motion would have accepted the standards committee findings and fulfilled the government’s promise, so was expected to be accepted by members "on the nod" – meaning no-one was likely to object. However, Sir Christopher had other ideas.

On Twitter Sir Christopher’s objection caused fury and bemusement among users and also opposition MPs – including Labour’s Chris Bryant and Wes Streeting.

Political commentators reported how fellow Tory MPs were furious with Sir Christopher.

Guardian political correspondent Aubrey Allegretti claimed one told him the Christchurch MP was a "Jurassic embarrassment" who had "crossed the line" with the objections.

It is not the first time Sir Christopher, who has been critical of motions going through parliament without sufficient debate, has blocked the passages of bills by shouting "object".

He has previously stopped legislation on female genital mutilation, banning the use of wild animals for circus performances and making up-skirting a specific crime.

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