Ben Bradley criticised for asking why there's no 'Minister for men'

Tory MP Ben Bradley sparks Twitter backlash after questioning why there is no ‘Minister for men’ during Commons debate on equality

  • Ben Bradley spoke out while leading a debate to mark International Men’s Day
  • He asked: ‘Why have a minister for women but not one for men?
  • Was immediately criticised, including by former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith 

A Conservative MP has been pilloried online for questioning why there is a dedicated minister for women but not for men.

Ben Bradley spoke out while leading a debate in the House of Commons on the challenges faced by men and boys to mark International Men’s Day on Thursday.

He asked: ‘Why have a minister for women but not one for men? Why single out one characteristic for special mention?’.

The MP, who last month suggested that Government cash for children on free school meals went to ‘crack dens and brothels’, was immediately criticised on Twitter, including by former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Conservative MP Ben Bradley has been pilloried online for questioning why there is a dedicated minister for women but not for men

The MP, who last month suggested that Government cash for children on free school meals went to ‘crack dens and brothels’, was immediately criticised on Twitter, including by former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

Underneath a video of Mr Bradley’s speech, she said the men she knows ‘recognise institutional sexism and patriarchy’ and want to tackle its ‘debilitating effect on women’.

She added that ‘they’re not sure you’re quite as committed to that as they are’ before signing off, ‘Best Jacqui’.

The former chief prosecutor of the North-West of England, Nazir Afzal, added that Bradley is the ‘kind of guy who questions why we have international a International women’s day when men have 365 days a year’.

Other Britons were equally scathing. One wrote that they were ‘actually convinced Ben Bradley is a parody account and not really an elected MP.’

A second added, ‘why do we have a National Security and Intelligence Committee and not a National Danger and Idiot Committee?

‘Ben Bradley would be in his prime leading that committee.’

However, some were supportive of the MP’s comments.

One said that having a dedicated minister for men would not ‘negate’ the work of the minister for women.

The former chief prosecutor of the North-West of England, Nazir Afzal, added that Bradley is the ‘kind of guy who questions why we have international a International women’s day when men have 365 days a year’

Other Britons were equally scathing. One wrote that they were ‘actually convinced Ben Bradley is a parody account and not really an elected MP.’

They added that there ‘may indeed be times when their goals are in conflict, but if that is a reflection of conflicts within society, surely this should be represented at parliamentary level?’

Another said that male equality issues include the ‘right to child access, life expectancy, victim of crime rates, higher chance of imprisonment and longer sentences and higher rates of death during conflict’.

The current minister for women Liz Truss. Her official title is Minister for Women and Equalities and she is also Secretary of State of International Trade. 

Ex Home Secretary Mrs Smith said in her response: ‘Dear Ben. The men I know & love recognise institutional sexism and patriarchy and want its debilitating effect on women tackled. 

However, some were supportive of the MP’s comments. One said that having a dedicated minister for men would not ‘negate’ the work of the minister for women

‘They also believe women AND men would benefit from a more equal society. They’re not sure you’re quite as committed to that as they are! Best Jacqui.’

Mr Bradley had also asked in his speech: ‘Can we ensure equality means just that rather than positive discrimination at the expense of certain groups?

‘Male is equally protected as female and we could do worse in this place than to confirm how the Act should be properly used.

‘Can we promote the role of fatherhood and stop shying away from the importance of that role?

‘Yes, families come in all shapes and sizes, I don’t wish to detract from anyone who wants to do things differently, but there’s a positive role to be played by an active father that cannot and should not be ignored.’

Mr Bradley had also asked in his speech: ‘Can we ensure equality means just that rather than positive discrimination at the expense of certain groups?’

The debate the MP was involved had had to be squeezed into a 60-mintue period because of extra business schedules in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Mr Bradley told MPs: ‘I’ve drastically shortened my contributions – our three hours have become one, which is perhaps indicative of a problem of men’s issues being pushed off the end of the agenda.

‘It kind of nicely typifies the problem.’

Mr Bradley criticised the use of language including ‘male privilege, toxic masculinity and of men as oppressors rather than positive contributors or role models’, adding: ‘Men are talked about all too often as a problem which must be rectified.

‘Too often the constant drive for equality and diversity seeks to drag others down rather than lift everyone up.’

Mr Bradley said he believes equalities legislation sometimes provides additional help for ‘everyone else except men and boys’, and he pressed the need to help white working-class boys in education – given they lag behind.

He highlighted working-class values that he said may be ‘considered old hat or even sexist by the modern establishment’, explaining: ‘It’s a set of values where you hold a door open for a lady, a man might be expected to stick around and provide for his family, where the role of men is a worker and breadwinner and a positive role model for his children.’

Mr Bradley said such values are still ‘entrenched and well taught’, adding they did not seek to limit women’s ambition but instead promote family, tradition and strong male role models.

He went on: ‘You might also find, particularly when considering young men who are looking ahead at their life and seeking their purpose, that they might struggle to find it when they’re told those things they thought were virtues – their good manners, wanting to provide for their family, wanting to be a man’s man, wanting to go to the football at the weekend and have some banter with the lads – are toxic, doing down the women around them.

‘Those manners they were taught on the way to respect women in their life is now sexist, that banter is now bullying.’

Conservative James Sunderland (Bracknell) spoke of losing his friend to suicide.

Mr Sunderland told MPs: ‘In 1998 my very closest friend sadly committed suicide. It was a devastating event for me and his family, and all of his friends, and I am very well versed by the mess that is left behind.

‘We must end the stigma of men’s mental health and we need to commend the truth that it is okay not to feel okay. So, please seek help is the simple answer.’

Summing up the debate, equalities minister Kemi Badenoch said: ‘I would urge any man, whatever his age or background, who is struggling to speak to a GP and seek out mental health support delivered by charities or the NHS.

‘Services are still operating and it is better to get help early.’ 

Writing on Twitter after the criticism of his comments, Mr Bradley said: ‘I’m being slated for suggesting Equality Act applies equally to men.

Writing on Twitter after the criticism of his comments, Mr Bradley said: ‘I’m being slated for suggesting Equality Act applies equally to men. #Hey, here’s news: it does. ‘Sex’ is protected – ie both! Act protects characteristics, not groups. People tweeting at me that ‘male is not a p.c.’ need to do some reading!’

‘#Hey, here’s news: it does. ‘Sex’ is protected – ie both! Act protects characteristics, not groups. People tweeting at me that ‘male is not a p.c.’ need to do some reading!’

Last month, Mr Bradley was criticised was accused of a ‘stigmatisation of working class families’ in an incendiary tweet that suggested cash for free school meals went to ‘crack dens and brothels’.

He had replied to a post in which another user described the free school meals programme as ‘£20 cash direct to a crack den and a brothel’. 

Last month, Mr Bradley was criticised was accused of a ‘stigmatisation of working class families’ in an incendiary tweet that suggested cash for free school meals went to ‘crack dens and brothels’

In a comment on Twitter – which has since been removed – he wrote: ‘That’s what FSM vouchers in the summer effectively did…’ 

He was immediately slammed by shadow ministers and there were calls for him to apologise for his tweet.

Deputy leader of Labour Angela Rayner said: ‘A Conservative MP has said that free school meals are effectively a direct payment to brothels and drug dealers.

‘Notwithstanding the fact that the vouchers in summer could only be used to purchase food, this stigmatisation of working class families is disgraceful and disgusting.’ 

The comments followed high-profile campaign by Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford, who had called on the Government to provide free school meals for poor children during holidays as well as during term time. 

The comments followed high-profile campaign by Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford, who had called on the Government to provide free school meals for poor children during holidays as well as during term time 

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