Tory MP claims militant feminists do not really believe in equality

Philip Davies says women 'want to have their cake and eat it'

Caroline Mortimer@cjmortimer
Monday 15 August 2016 15:20
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The Shipley MP says it was a 'fact' that men are treated more harshly by the court's system than women
The Shipley MP says it was a 'fact' that men are treated more harshly by the court's system than women

A Conservative MP has claimed feminists do not believe in equality unless it “suits them”.

Philip Davies defended a speech he had given to a men’s rights conference last month where he said “feminist zealots” wanted to “have their cake and eat it”.

He was speaking at the International Conference on Men’s Issues, organised by the Justice for Men and Boys party (J4MB) at the ExCel centre in London.

He said: “They fight for their version of equality on all the things that suit women – but are very quick to point out that women need special protections and treatment on other things.”

The J4MB party, which was founded by a disgruntled Conservative party activist who left after former Prime Minister David Cameron suggested all-female shortlists, claims it campaigns against the violation of male human rights by feminists.

It has called for a reduction of the abortion limit to 13 weeks, criminalising women over foetal alcohol syndrome, an end to funding designed to encourage women to work in science and the introduction of compulsory paternity testing.

The party also issues awards for “Lying feminist of the month” and “whiny feminist of the month”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight, the MP for Shipley condemned the “social media hysteria” around his comments, saying he was “just making a point about the gender justice gap”.

He said: “They are facts, they are not opinions, they are facts.

"For example 61 per cent of men who are convicted of robbery are sent to prison, only 37 per cent of women who are convicted of robbery are sent to prison. 33 per cent of men who are convicted of child cruelty are sent to prison but only 15 per cent of women are sent to prison.

“For every single category of offence men are more likely to be sent to prison than a woman, they are going to spend longer in prison.

“I believe in equality and for me to say I think the courts should be gender blind and a man should be treated the same in a court as a woman - I don’t really see why that’s controversial.

“They want to be treated differently before the courts when it suits them but they want to have equality on everything else.”

But a Labour peer and former barrister has said Mr Davies’ claim that men are discriminated against is “not backed by evidence”.

Jean Corston, who is considered an expert on women and the justice system, told the Guardian women were more likely to be imprisoned for a first offence.

She said: “I’ll give you an example: a woman who was sentenced to life for a first offence of wounding with intent. That would never, never happen to a man. This kind of thing is still happening.

“It is true that the number of women in prison are a fraction of those which are men. But generally women don’t commit crime in the way men do. There is indisputable evidence that women are treated by the courts more harshly.”

She said when many of the offences cited by Mr Davies were committed by women it was often to do with poverty - such as shoplifting to feed children.

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