Tory MP Ben Bradley wants to ‘look at equalities law’ after suggesting straight, white men don’t have enough rights

Ben Bradley

Tory MP Ben Bradley has questioned why no “minister for men” post exists as he calls for UK equality legislation to protect the rights of straight, white men.

The former vice-chair for the Conservatives Party for Youth, who previously refused to take part in training to tackle sexism and homophobia, opened a debate on International Men’s Day to request that “straight [is] equally protected as gay”.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he urged the government to redress the balance – which has been tipped in favour of straight, white men for all of human history – as he feels the Equality Act has resulted in “positive discrimination at the expense of certain groups”.

“We can change the discourse here [in parliament] for starters,” he suggested. “Can we look again at equalities legislation? If we hold a whole department to account with people dedicated to ensuring that women are considered – quite rightly so – why not the same for men?

“Why have a minister for women but not one for men? Why single out one characteristic for special mention?”

As he lamented the apparent problem of “men’s issues being pushed off the end of the agenda”, Bradley also criticised the use of language including “male privilege, toxic masculinity and of men as oppressors rather than positive contributors or role models”.

“Men are talked about all too often as a problem which must be rectified,” he added. “Too often the constant drive for equality and diversity seeks to drag others down rather than lift everyone up.”

Bradley then moved the debate over to Twitter, where he was met with a scathing response from people who were all too happy to remind him that a) promoting the rights of one group doesn’t damage those of another, and b) straight, white men need no special protections in a world largely designed to prioritise their needs.

When one user asked the MP to clarify which aspect of the Equality Act he proposed changing, he replied vaguely: “Simply to lay out clearly what it means and how it should be used. Positive action, based on evidence, for underrepresented protected characteristics – those are sex, race etc… not female, BME etc. Hence, ‘equality’!”

Ben Bradley will be pleased to learn that sex and race are already listed as protected characteristics under the Equality Act, not “female” and “BME” as he describes, and that Section 11 specifically lists men alongside women.

PinkNews has contacted Ben Bradley for comment.