More women should be sent to prison in order to make them equal with men, a Conservative MP has said.
During a parliamentary debate Philip Davies said men were being discriminated against in the British justice system because they tended to receive longer and more frequent custodial sentences than women for the same category of crimes.
“The facts and figures that I have set out show that there are certainly questions to be answered about how men are treated in the justice system, compared with women,” he said.
“It seems that there is clear discrimination against men. If outcomes are all-important, what do people have to say about that? What will be done to deal with that balance?”
At this point, fellow Conservative MP Lucy Allan intervened in the debate, asking Mr Davies how he would resolve the situation.
“Does my honourable friend therefore consider it desirable to have more women in the prison population, to achieve equality?” she asked.
Mr Davies replied: “Yes, I would like to see more people in prison, but that is a debate for another day.
“I would certainly like women who commit serious offences sent to prison in the way that men who commit serious offences are. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for allowing me to make that point very clear.”
The Conservative MP, who represents Shipley in Yorkshire, went on to criticise the prison policy of not forcing all women to wear uniforms.
“Where is the equality in the current sentencing regime? It is just like the example I gave of female prisoners not having to wear a uniform.
“Somehow, the fact that hardly any women are in prison in the first place seems to be a problem, because it just is—because they are women. If there is to be true equality, this cannot be allowed to continue.”
He cited figures showing that 54 per cent of men were sent to prison for violent offences compared to 23 per cent of women.
Mr Davies also used the debate, which was about the issue of the higher suicide rate amongst men and International Men’s Day, to attack “radical feminists” and “politically correct males”.
“I do not believe there is actually an issue between men and women,” he said. “Often, problems are stirred up by those who might be described as militant feminists and the politically correct males who sometimes pander to them.
“It seems to me that we have an ‘equality, but only when it suits’ agenda in Parliament that often applies just to women. The drive for women to have so-called equality on all things that suit the politically correct agenda but not on the things that do not is a great concern.”
Mr Davies has been campaigning for some months for a parliamentary debate on International Men’s Day.
He was criticised by Labour MP Jess Phillips, who said that to her it felt like “every day is International Men’s Day”.