Tory MP Philip Davies has claimed ‘militant feminists’ are trying to bully and intimidate him for saying men and women should be treated equally.
The outspoken backbencher told a Westminster Hall debate on International Men’s Day that men are also ‘increasingly getting a bad press’ and that attitudes needed to be ‘challenged’.
“It is fair to say that I am often pilloried for arguing that men and women should be treated equally,” he said.
“I do not see that there is anything particularly controversial in that, but it never ceases to amaze me how often I am accused of being a misogynist, sexist, or some other term of abuse, merely for saying that men and women should be treated equally before the law.
“What seems to have happened is that in many cases, militant feminists have tried to close down any talk about men and women being treated equally. To try to close down the debate, they hurl abuse at the people who raise these issues, in the hope that people will not listen any more to what they say, that they will stop saying those things and that other people will be deterred from standing up and saying those things.”
Davies, who describes himself as an anti-feminist, said he would not be “bullied or intimidated in that way” and would continue to raise issues that affect men.
The women and equalities select committee member has been criticised in the past for trying to frustrate potential new legislation on domestic violence and animal cruelty.
The suggestion to hold a debate around International Men’s Day - which is held on November 19 - was his, but it was secured by his Conservative colleague Jeremy Lefroy, MP for Stafford.
Davies added: “It seems bizarre to me that those who apparently fight discrimination, injustices and stereotypes are often quite happy to perpetuate all those things against men.
“I hope that this year International Men’s Day provides an opportunity to focus on the negative stereotypical portrayal of men and the unjustifiable attacks on those who do not support the politically correct, militant feminist approach to things.
“I hope men and women can agree that that is not right, and join forces to ensure that the minority trying to do such damage do not succeed.”
Labour MP Paula Sherriff said attempts to frame the debate around “who has it worst, men or women?” were “juvenile”.
“In a grown-up world where most people genuinely want progress toward equality, we must recognise that to set this up as a battle of the sexes can only detract from the opportunity that International Men’s Day offers to address the issues that solely affect men,” she added.
“I am a proud feminist, but that does not mean that I am ignorant or unsympathetic to issues of inequality between genders where women fare better than men. I believe strongly that where inequality exists it is our duty as parliamentarians to seek to change that and to create a more just and equal society.”
Equalities minister Nick Gibb said the government was committed to tackling gender inequality “in all its forms”.