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Tory MP says remarks about women replacing male characters were “misconstrued”

Nick Fletcher MP said he would "never apologise" for the comments about boys needing positive male role models

By Charlotte Krol

Nick Fletcher MP poses in a photo
Nick Fletcher MP. (Picture:

A Tory MP has defended comments he made suggesting that young men are committing crimes because they have fewer positive film and TV role models due to roles being replaced by women.

Nick Fletcher, Conservative MP for Don Valley, raised the topic in a Westminster Hall debate on International Men’s Day and later received some backlash for his remarks.

He said, referring to woman-led reboots such as the Queen Latifah-starring TV series The Equalizer and Jodie Whittaker’s becoming the first female Doctor Who, that “men are left with the Krays and Tommy Shelby” – aka criminal characters.

“Everywhere, not least in the cultural sphere, 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,” he told Parliamentarians in Westminster Hall.

“One only needs to look at the discussions around who will play the next James Bond. And it’s not just James Bond, in recent years we have seen Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker, The Equalizer 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?”

Today (November 26) Fletcher issued a statement on social media to defend his comments. “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.”

“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 Dr Who being a female to crime being committed by men.”

He continued: “Boys need positive male role models, and that is a point that I will continue to reiterate and never apologise for making.”

In the modern TV reboot of The Equalizer, Queen Latifah plays the lead role following Denzel Washington in the 2014 film and Edward Woodward in the ’80s series.

Earlier this year Labour leader Keir Starmer called for James Bond to be played by a woman. Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Starmer said: “I don’t have a favourite Bond, but I do think it is time for a female Bond.”