UK Politics

MP Philip Davies criticises 'militant feminists'

Philip Davies MP Image copyright Conservative Party

An MP has blamed "militant feminists and politically correct males" for stirring up problems between men and women.

Conservative Philip Davies said there was an attitude in Parliament that equality "often applies just to women".

But his comments were criticised by fellow Tory MP Maria Miller, who accused him of trying to belittle discrimination faced by women.

They were speaking as MPs debated male suicide and International Men's Day.

International Men's Day is celebrated on 19 November, aiming to address issues including men's shorter life expectancy, higher suicide rates, and "the negative portrayal of fathers, men and boys".

Mr Davies, who had led calls for a debate on the subject, told MPs in Westminster Hall he did not think there was "an issue" between men and women.

'On merit'

He added: "I think often the problems are stirred up by those who might be described as militant feminists and the politically correct males who sometimes pander to it."

The Shipley MP said it was "depressing" that a select committee for women and equalities had been established, saying he "couldn't care less" if every MP in the Commons was a woman, "as long as they were there on merit".

He added: "It seems to me that we've therefore got this 'equality when - but only when - it suits' agenda in Parliament that often applies just to women."

International Men's Day

  • Calls for an International Men's Day began in the 1960s but it did not get under way until the 1990s
  • It is celebrated on 19 November in more than 60 countries, according to the organisers
  • In the UK, there are debates and get-togethers being held across the country
  • The idea is to promote male role models, increase awareness of men's health issues, improve gender equality and highlight discrimination, or simply to get people to show some appreciation for the men in their life

Background to International Men's Day

Another Conservative MP, Lucy Allan, said parents should not make their sons feel "ashamed of their sex" when raising them, adding that it was wrong "to blame today's men for the patriarchal society of yesterday".

Ms Miller, the former equalities minister, said equality was not a "competition between men and women", saying it was not a "myth" that women faced discrimination on a daily basis.

SNP MP Paul Monaghan said he found many of Mr Davies' remarks "unrelated to the title of the debate", saying the Scottish government was "deeply concerned" about suicide rates.

For Labour, shadow mental health minister Luciana Berger called for an "urgent review" of the government's suicide prevention strategy, which was published in 2012, and criticised a delay in producing official figures.

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