Philip Davies: Tory MP elected to women and equalities committee thinks it should never have been created

The MP is a noted anti-feminist

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
@joncstone
Wednesday 14 December 2016 17:03
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Philip Davies speaking in the House of Commons
Philip Davies speaking in the House of Commons

A Conservative MP who has been elected to the Women and Equalities Committee recently suggested the committee should not exist, it has emerged.

Philip Davies, who has long been a vocal critic of feminism, said a year ago that Committee’s creation “one of the most depressing things to happen recently”.

The MP for Shipley was elected unopposed by his Tory MP colleagues to fill a vacancy on the committee for the party.

Staunchly anti-feminist, Mr Davies said at the time that some women were “obsessed with having more women in Parliament”.

The Women and Equalities Committee, which was created last year, scrutinises the progress and policies of the Government Equalities Office and the Government's overall performance on issues of sex, age, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, pregnancy and maternity, marriage or civil partnership status.

“One of the most depressing things to happen recently was the introduction of the Select Committee on Women and Equalities,” Mr Davies complained in Parliament last November.

“After everything else, in 2015 we have a separate Committee to deal with women’s issues, on top of the Women’s Minister, Women’s Question Time and the many strategies in this country that only deal with women.

“For the record, I could not care less if every MP in this House were female or if every member of my staff were female, as long as they were there on merit. To assume that men cannot adequately represent women is a nonsense, just as it is to say that only women can represent other women.

“As a man, I can say quite clearly that Margaret Thatcher represented my views very nicely indeed, but I am not sure she would be a pin-up for many of the politically correct, left-leaning women who are obsessed with having more women in Parliament today.”

Green MP and party co-leader Caroline Lucas said she hoped Mr Davis’s tenure would be “an education” for him.

“Philip Davies’ doesn’t even think that the Women’s and Equalities Committee should exist, yet he’s about to join it,” she said.

“My only hope is that serving on the committee will be an education to Davies, perhaps giving him a chance to rethink his views about ‘feminist zealots’ and allowing him an insight into the everyday struggles face by women caused by the entrenched sexism in our society.

“Either way I have no doubt that Davies’ obsession with ‘political correctness’ will be drowned out by the sensible voices on the committee who are genuinely striving for equality.”

Mr Davis said in August that “feminist zealots” were “stirring up” problems and that a number of women wanted equality but “only when it suits”.

He has campaigned hard for the recognition of International Men’s Day in Parliament, arguing last month that men has lost their voice in the national discourse in recent years.

Last year Mr Davies caused a storm after he said more women should be sent to prison in order to achieve equality with men.

The membership of select committees reflects the party balance in the House of Commons and Mr Davies would have been chosen to represent the Tories on the committee by a ballot of his fellow Conservative MPs, though he was unopposed.

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