‘Nope to Chope’ says artist after MP’s knife crime comments

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Lorna Rees
Artist Lorna Rees left the judo jacket at Sir Chris Chope’s constituency office

A CAMPAIGNING artist has struck again at the office of Christchurch MP Sir Chris Chope – this time with a protest judo outfit after he suggested people avoid knife attacks by getting “fitter”.

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Lorna Rees, who lives in the town, left the jacket on the door of the Conservative’s constituency base in Bargates in response to comments he made at a meeting of the Commons’ home affairs select committee.

At a hearing about violent crime, Sir Chris suggested to the chief constable of West Midlands Police Dave Thompson that young people could be encouraged to take up martial arts.

Sir Chris said: “One of the ways in which people can be prepared is by, for example, doing judo, taekwondo, being physically able and taught how to deal with a situation where you are threatened with a knife.

“Do you think there’s something to be said for actually increasing the encouragement of young people so they don’t have to take a knife out?”

Mr Thompson argued against the idea as a national strategy and said the best advice was for people to “run away” from knife incidents.

Ms Rees has targeted Sir Chris’s office before, leaving underpants and dinosaurs in protest at his habit of objecting to private members’ bills including extra protection for girls at risk of female genital mutilation and a ban on taking unsolicited photos up women’s skirts.

Artist Lorna Rees previously protested by stringing up pants outside Sir Chris’s office

This time her message on the judo jacket said: “Mate, judo ain’t the solution to knife crime… but are you fit enough to be our MP?”

She later tweeted: “Just left this on my MP Christopher Chope’s Christchurch constituency office door after he suggested young people should learn judo or ‘get fitter’ to avoid being victims of knife crime.

“Is he fit enough to be our MP? I don’t think so.

“And this is the guy voting on my behalf in parliament today… yeesh.”

Sir Chris is currently fighting an attempt by local Conservative activists to have him deselected over his controversial objections in the Commons, and his fierce opposition to the impending merger of Christchurch Borough Council into a single authority with Bournemouth and Poole.

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