Doncaster MP Nick Fletcher insists he 'did not link Doctor Who being a woman to men committing crime'

A South Yorkshire MP has responded after being ridiculed for comments about a female Doctor Who and male crime rates.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 8:32 am

Doncaster MP Nick Fletcher was widely lampooned after he appeared to link men committing crime to women being hired for prominent TV and film roles.

In a speech on International Men’s Day, the Conservative MP for Don Valley claimed more positive male role models were needed for young boys. He reeled off facts around poorer educational standards, higher rates of crime and the vast majority of rough sleepers being men.

Turning to the subject of film and TV, he said: “There seems to be a call from a tiny, yet very vocal minority that every male character or good role model must have a female replacement.

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West Yorkshire-born actor Jodie Whittaker became the first female Doctor Who in October 2018. Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher has defended comments in which he appeared to link male crime rates with women filling TV and film roles, like that of the Doctor, which had previously been played by men

“There only needs to be a discussion around who is the next James Bond. It’s not just James Bond, in recent years we have seen Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker, The Equalizer, all replaced by women.

“Men are left with the Krays and Tommy Shelby. Is there any wonder we are seeing so many young men committing crime?”

The speech in Westminster Hall resulted in the video going viral on social media and brought condemnation from many.

But in a statement published on Twitter, Mr Fletcher hit back at his critics and said he was in fact not making a link between Doctor Who being played by a woman and men committing crime.

He said his ‘nuanced’ point was ‘misconstrued’ and that he was in fact making the point that the majority of role models on TV for young boys are ‘violent criminals’.

The full statement from Mr Fletcher read: “I was pleased to speak at the International Men’s Day debate today, especially as it gave me a chance to raise several points that are often a little overlooked within political discourse.

"These points namely touched upon poor academic attainment of boys in schools and a lack of positive role models for many struggling young males in society.

"Naturally, as is often the case, my rather nuanced point that there are increasingly fewer positive male role models for young boys was almost immediately misconstrued.

"My point was, in fact, a straightforward one and in no way linked to Dr [sic] Who being a female to crime being committed by men.

"As alluded to earlier in my speech, teachers, parents and carers need to teach young men and boys that makes can make a positive difference.

“Promoting this can be done through various means, including through films and programmes.

"Yet something often not discussed is that the only characters many boys with no good make role models in their lives seen on television and online are increasingly criminal.

"For whatever reasons, there appears to be a certain squeamishness when pointing out that when a boy’s role models are all violent criminals (fictional or not0, 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 [sic] Who being female to crime being commitment 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.

"Boys need positive make role models, and that is a point that I will continue to reiterate and never apologise for making.”