1. ITV Report

MPs to mark International Men's Day in the House of Commons

MP Philip Davies has called the debate Credit: PA

MPs will hold a debate to mark International Men's Day in the main chamber of the House of Commons for the first time later today.

Philip Davies, who called the debate, dismissed criticism that the event was a stunt and said it could become an annual tradition.

He said the debate will tackle serious issues around suicide rates and educational under-achievement, and it was right for International Men's Day - which is on Saturday - to be given the same attention as International Women's Day.

The Tory MP for Shipley said: "We have had a debate for many years on International Women's Day in the main Chamber to coincide with that.

"So people thought it was only right that we have the debate to consider the issues around International Men's Day in the Chamber as well, to give it the same kind of prominence."

A march on International Women's Day in New York. Credit: PA

Parliament held a debate to mark the event for the first time last year, but it attracted widespread criticism and opposition from some female MPs.

Mr Davies hopes this year will be less controversial.

He said: "I know some people have been very disparaging about this, saying every day is International Men's Day and all the rest of it, but there is a big difference between men raising issues and the raising of men's issues.

"And yes, men raise lots of issues in Parliament, but not very often are men's issues raised in Parliament.

"Last year when I was asking for this debate for the first time, we had a bit of push back and it was much more controversial.

"It was more controversial last year, this year it seems to be much more accepted that there are legitimate areas where men are suffering.

"This is not a stunt at all. In many respects I would prefer that neither were necessary and I would rather the issues were mainstream and you didn't have to have an International Men's Day to raise men's issue or an International Women's Day to raise women's issues.

"But given that these issues don't often get discussed, it is just a useful way to highlight some of these issues."