The House of Commons was virtually deserted yesterday as hardly any MPs showed up for a debate in honour of International Men’s Day.
An event on Thursday afternoon saw the vast majority of the UK’s 650 MP busy themselves with other business.
The backbench debate was devoted to social issues which disproportionately affect men, such as suicide, homelessness, incarceration and poor school performance.
Attendance at the debate was in stark contrast to the turnout for the equivalent International Women’s Day Debate, held on March 8th this year:
Heat Street counts 18 MPs in attendance yesterday – compared to more than 75 at the IWD event.
Mims Davies MP, the Conservative member for Eastleigh, commented in her speech that she felt compelled to attend both debates as a matter of fairness.
She said: “I believe in equality, so I spoke in the International Women’s Day debate. I’m being completely equal and turning up for this debate”.
By contrast, many MPs considered that their Thursday afternoon would be better spent elsewhere – perhaps making an early getaway ahead of spending Friday in their constituencies.
The women’s debate was granted around three hours of parliamentary time, keeping members in the house until 7pm. An hour and twenty minutes was allotted to discuss men’s issues.
Outside the chamber, Philip Davies MP, an occasional Heat Street contributor who organised the debate, was lambasted on social media and in the press:
Strong work from Philip here as he battles David for the coveted title of "Stupidest Tory MP named Davies". pic.twitter.com/UtCqbteG5T
— alexmassie (@alexmassie) November 17, 2016
— Abi Wilkinson (@AbiWilks) November 17, 2016
80. Long. Minutes. https://t.co/UnuBgI0PpV
— Jack Blanchard (@Jack_Blanchard_) November 17, 2016
Many of the speakers yesterday lamented that the issues they wanted to discuss seldom get the attention they deserve. Judging by the response of their fellow parliamentarians, they have been proved right.