Yorkshire MP appears to link crime rates among men to increase in female TV characters

A Yorkshire MP has appeared to claim that rising crime rates among men is linked to females taking more leading TV and film roles such as Dr Who and Ghostbusters.

Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP for Don Valley (Parliament)

Don Valley Conservative Nick Fletcher told a Parliamentary debate that masculinity should be “celebrated, rather than continually vilified” amid what he believes to be “calls from a tiny, very vocal minority that every male character or good role model must have a female replacement.”

However, in a statement posted on Twitter, Mr Fletcher later said his "nuanced point" had been "almost immediately misconstrued".

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Speaking in a discussion to mark International Men’s Day, Mr Fletcher said that the struggles of males had been left “out of the discussion" and that "good" role models were being replaced on screen and in the media.

"One only needs to look at the discussion surrounding who will play the next James Bond and it's not just James Bond,” he told colleagues in Westminster Hall.

“In recent years, we have seen Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker, the Equaliser, all replaced by women and men are left with the Krays and Tommy Shelby.

"Is there any wonder we are seeing so many young men committing crime?

"These programmes make crime look cool."

He added: "When a young boy continually hears masculinity being linked with toxicity in societal discourse then it is no wonder that many suffer from feelings of worthless and isolation."

Mr Fletcher went on to say: "If we get this right we should need fewer police not more, we should need fewer courts not more, we should need fewer prisons not more. This is a long game, we need to help men at all stages of their lives."

Following widespread reaction to the speech on social media, Mr Fletcher, who was elected in 2019, posted a lengthy statement on Twitter, in which he said that his point was "in fact a straightforward one and in no way linked to Dr Who being a female to crime being committed by men,"

He added: "For whatever reason, there appears to be a certain squeamishness when pointing out that when a boy's role models are all violent criminals (fictional or not) this negatively influences how they view masculinity and what it means to be a man."

"As has been alleged rather lazily by several individuals, I did not link a Dr Who being female to crime being committed by men.

"In fact, I was making a statement that boys and young men also need positive role models within the media, just as women do."