Head of Women's Equality Party to challenge Tory MP Philip Davies

Philip Davies
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The leader of the Women's Equality Party has accused Philip Davies of wasting time on "a self-indulgent, anti-women" campaign in Westminster, as she confirmed she will stand against the Tory MP in his West Yorkshire seat of Shipley.

The women's rights campaigner and former journalist Sophie Walker claimed Mr Davies has a "track record of misogyny", and is failing to represent "the needs and interests of all its constituents".

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme, she stated she would be a "voice for all women" in Parliament, and fight against Tory austerity policies that "hit women harder than men".

But Mr Davies has defended his record on equality, while accusing Ms Walker of "parachuting herself" into an area that he has represented for almost 12 years.

The Shipley MP and former bookmaker has been the source of controversy in recent years for his views on feminism and his support for men's rights movements.

In December he was appointed to Parliament's Women and Equalities select committee, and subsequently called for any reference to "women" to be removed from the committee's title.

Confirming her candidacy, Ms Walker suggested Mr Davies' membership of the committee was a "national embarrassment".

"Shipley deserves an MP that will represent the needs and interests of all its constituents, instead of one who spends constituency time on a self-indulgent anti-women campaign," she said.

"Right now if you live in Shipley, your MP is best known in Parliament as a sexist whose favourite pastime is inventing long speeches to prevent other MPs from passing important legislation such as the provision of free hospital parking for carers and compulsory sex and relationships education in schools."

Mr Davies was first elected to represent Shipley in 2005, with a slim majority of 422 votes.

In 2010 he increased his lead over Labour to 9,944, and in 2015 he secured 50 percent of the vote.

Responding to Ms Walker's announcement, he challenged the WEP leader "to quote just one thing I have ever said which has asked for a woman to be treated less favourably than a man"

"She hasn't been able to find even one quote from the 12 years I have spent in Parliament," he told the Observer.

"I would very much welcome Ms Walker parachuting herself into Shipley as a candidate with her extreme politically correct agenda of positive discrimination and quotas, and am very happy to let the good people of the Shipley constituency decide who they want to represent them."