Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher calls for men's minister to ensure equality

Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher
Nick Fletcher led a debate in the Commons on International Men's Day. Credit: Nick Fletcher

A Conservative MP has told the government that a men's minister is needed to ensure equality between the sexes.

Nick Fletcher, MP for Don Valley in South Yorkshire, told the Commons that having a women's minister but not one for men meant there was not "fair treatment".

He urged the government to create the role, which would oversee men's experiences of education and health, as he led a debate on International Men's Day.

Mr Fletcher said the government needs to publish a men's health strategy to deal with issues which impact men more than women.

He told the Commons: "Equality means equal and fair treatment. When you ask members of the public, including so-called red wall seats like mine, whether it is fair and equal to have a minister for women and not for men they of course say no.

"They, like me, believe we should have both. Why would anybody who truly believes in equality think different?

"Let's stop talking in government and let's start doing."

Suicide in England and Wales is three times more common among men than women, according to research by the House of Commons Library, and that gap has increased over time.

Mr Fletcher said that someone needs to be accountable within government and that the current equalities office should "give equal reference to men".

Maria Caulfield, who is both minister for women and mental health, said there had already been "huge strides forward" in providing support to men, but would not commit to creating a post for a men's minister.

She added: "We do know that for women, their time spent in ill health and disability is significantly higher than men, and that is why we have a women's health strategy at the moment.

"It doesn't mean that if we haven't got a men's health strategy or indeed a men's minister that the government or the NHS takes men's health any less seriously."

She said she was happy to meet with Mr Fletcher and other concerned MPs to discuss what more could be done.

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