UK

Tory MP Ben Bradley – who wants more rights for straight, white men – joins Commons women and equalities select committee

Emma Powys Maurice March 4, 2021
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Ben Bradley

Ben Bradley speaking in the House of Commons (Twitter/@BBCPolitics)

Conservative MP Ben Bradley is joining the Women and Equalities Select Committee, months after calling on the government to protect the rights of straight men.

The cross-party parliamentary group holds the government to account on equality law and policy, including the Equality Act 2010 and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Bradley announced on Monday (1 March) that he was becoming a committee member to “be part of the debate on some really important and pressing issues”.

He replaces 21-year-old Conservative MP Sara Britcliffe, becoming one of three men in the 11-member group – and the only straight man.

It seems a surprising career move for the MP given that he proudly refused to take part in unconscious bias training to tackle sexism, racism and homophobia last year.

“In my view we should be unabashed in our cultural conservatism, sticking up for free speech and the right to ‘make my own bloody mind up, thank you very much’, and stepping in to block this ‘unconscious bias’ nonsense,” he wrote in a piece for Conservative Home.

Bradley also scoffed at separate sexual harassment training, describing it as “a total waste of all of our time”.

While he hasn’t elaborated on his motivation for joining the select committee, he’s previously stated his view that “men’s issues” are being “pushed off the end of the agenda”.

Opening a debate in the House of Commons on International Men’s Day, Bradley questioned why there was no “minister for men” to ensure that “straight [is] equally protected as gay”.

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

The MP stressed the need to redress the balance – which has been tipped in favour of straight, white men for centuries – as he feels the Equality Act has resulted in “positive discrimination at the expense of certain groups”.

His baffling lack of self-awareness was widely mocked at the time, but his appointment to the equality committee has now given rise to serious concern.

Women condemn choice of Ben Bradley for equalities role

The Labour MP Kim Johnson – one of Ben Bradley’s new colleagues on the Women and Equalities Committee – tweeted in disbelief after hearing the news.

“Ben Bradley, he of the ‘FSM vouchers go to crack dens and brothels’, who wants a minister for men because the Equality Act doesn’t give enough protection to the woefully marginalised straight white men, is now the Tory pick for the Women & Equalities Committee. Speechless,” she wrote.

“Ben Bradley being the Conservative choice for the Women’s and Equalities Committee is, I can only assume, someone’s idea of a joke,” agreed Lib Dem councillor Hannah Perkin. “In reality it is just incomprehensibly awful.”

Their shock was also shared by Leanne Patrick, a specialist nurse in gender-based violence and a founding member of a Feminist network for nurses, who said it was “hard to imagine a worse pick for this important position”.

“I am deeply concerned to learn of Ben Bradley’s appointment to the Women and Equalities Committee,” she told Nursing Notes.

“He has repeatedly demonstrated a clear lack of understanding on key issues relevant to this role and the Equalities Act. He has shown contempt for women, struggling families, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“This is a significant backward step for equality at a time when local authorities are rapidly defunding vital women’s services and against the backdrop of growing wealth, health, and social inequality.”

Another nurse, who asked not to be named, added: “Ben Bradley has made several comments during his time in parliament that make his appointment to the Women & Equalities Committee a questionable one.

“Women all over the UK need representation and the appointment of another white male to a committee designed to uphold the rights of women and ethnic minorities shows a lack of insight into the problem.”

PinkNews has reached out to Ben Bradley for comment.

 

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