Tory MP wins battle for International Men's Day debate in Parliament

Philip Davies said it was unfair that MPs hold an International Women's Day debate but not an equivalent for men, sparking a row with Labour MP Jess Phillips, who said the debate should only be granted 'when women in Parliament have parity'

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
Wednesday 11 November 2015 16:42 GMT
Philip Davies wants the debate to raise awareness of higher suicide rates and lower life expectancy rates among men
Philip Davies wants the debate to raise awareness of higher suicide rates and lower life expectancy rates among men (Rex Features)

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Louise Thomas

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A Conservative MP has won his battle for Parliament to hold a debate to mark International Men's Day.

MPs will discuss the higher rates of suicide and lower life expectancy among men as well as focussing on male victims of domestic abuse on Thursday November 19 after a campaign by Conservative MP for Shipley Philip Davies.

His demand for an International Men's Day debate was initially rejected by the committee of MPs who decide which backbench debates should take place but after support from fellow MPs, such as chair of the Labour parliamentary party John Cryer and female Tory MP Lucy Allen he was granted a debate for Westminster Hall, the overflow room for parliamentary debate.

He argued that there was not enough debate around issues affecting men - including a rising male suicide rate and the low achievement of boys in school and said it was wrong that MPs held a debate on International Women's Day and not one on the equivalent day for men.

It comes after an explosive row between Mr Davies and Labour MP Jessica Phillips, the only female member of the Backbench Business Committee who told him: “As the only woman on this committee, it seems like every day to me is International Men’s Day.

"When I've got parity, when women in these buildings have parity, you can have your debate."

She argued that there was already ample time for men's issues to be discussed.

Her opposition to holding an International Men's Day debate triggered a powerful response on Twitter as she received a barrage of disparaging tweets and messages threatening to rape her.

She took to Twitter to voice her distress after being subjected to violent sexist abuse on Twitter because of her objections.

The latest figures for the UK show life expectancy for men is four years shorter than women but the gap has narrowed since 1981, when the disparity was six years and by 2030 experts predict men will live to an average age of 85.7 - just two years fewer than women.

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