Upskirting is due to become a specific criminal offence, with the worst offenders facing up to two years in jail, after the Government backed a campaign to criminalise the cruel craze.

The Ministry of Justice announced its support to ban the practice, which sees perpetrators take images under a person's clothing without their consent, on the eve of a Parliamentary session which could have otherwise seen the Bill sink without trace.

Upskirting victim Gina Martin, 26, who faced rape threats and abuse after launching her campaign to make it a criminal offence, said: "This is obviously great news, and it's thanks to everyone who's listened to us along the way.

"I want to hug every woman who has got in touch with me to say it's happened to them, to say that now - hopefully - we can get access to justice for all victims because the politicians listened.

"There's still a way to go, but it looks now like it will go through without too much of a hitch."

Upskirting is due to form part of the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill - proposed by Wera Hobhouse, Lib Dem MP for Bath - which is now expected to be nodded through the Commons on Friday following the Government's public backing, unless there are any objections.

The Bill - which has received mass cross-party support to date - will still have to be scrutinised and pass through the Commons and Lords before it receives Royal Assent, but this is seen as the greatest sign yet that the campaign will bear fruit.

Justice minister Lucy Frazer said: "This behaviour is a hideous invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed.

"By making upskirting a specific offence, we are sending a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated, and that perpetrators will be properly punished.

"I'd like to thank Wera Hobhouse, Gina Martin, and all other campaigners for their tireless work, and look forward to seeing the Bill progress through Parliament."