SIR Christopher Chope has sought to defend himself after again blocking a bill on female genital mutilation in parliament.

The Christchurch MP is in hot water after, on Friday, shouting object to the second reading of Zac Goldsmith’s Government-backed proposals for the second time in the past few months.

Now he faces a grilling by members of the Christchurch and East Dorset Conservative Association after provoking an angry reaction from fellow MPs and social media.

Sir Christopher has previously defended his actions saying he is opposed to the Government using private members' bills to advance legislation.

He has since sent a note about private members' bills to association members "so that they are better able to understand and respond to the ill-informed criticisms to which I have been subject".

In the email to association chairman Councillor Ray Bryan he said: "I am sure that I do not need to emphasise the point that I am as keen as anybody to protect children from FGM.

"Although your email refers to you declining opportunities to appear on radio and TV, it does not seem that this has extended to the local newspaper.

"I find it most disappointing that you should have spoken to the local newspaper before speaking to me.

"As you will have seen from the Echo report of the Chief Whip’s Twitter comment, the FGM Bill will now be subject to proper scrutiny which is exactly what I have always wanted to achieve."

As reported, on Friday Government chief whip Julian Smith MP wrote on Twitter: “Working to find ways ASAP to bring back FGM Bill in Government time – confident we can do so.”

According to Mr Goldsmith, the bill is intended to "amend the 1989 Children Act to include FGM on the list of things (like forced marriage or domestic violence) for which the courts can issue protection orders if they think a child is at risk".

MPs including Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood and North Dorset MP Simon Hoare took to Twitter to attack Sir Christopher's move.

On Saturday, Mr Ellwood told the Echo: "His views on the FGM bill are so out of synch with the actual majority of the Conservative party, Parliament and the country as well."

And a group of Christchurch's Conservative councillors issued a statement distancing themselves from the MP.

Christchurch Labour also issued a statement at the weekend: "His argument for blocking this bill is that private member's bills lack proper scrutiny, attempting to claim that his objection is based on ‘principle’.

"Unfortunately, what he fails to inform the public is that the bill itself would be properly scrutinised and debated through a committee stage, report stage and a third reading if it was able to progress through parliament.

"His ‘principles’ on private members' bills don’t extend to fellow Conservative Peter Bone, whose bills he didn’t object to, and two of his own bills which were due to be read today, one on value added tax and the other on HS2 phase one.

"Last year, he camped outside Parliament to put 72 of his own private members' bills through parliament."