This post may not mean a great deal to readers who are based outside the United Kingdom. I am nonetheless very grateful for their interest and apologise that this post is particularly UK-centric.
All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal groupings of Members of Parliament (MPs) who take an interest in a particular topic. They have limited powers but can be a useful source of influence and they can be more effective than individual MPs in seeking answers from Government Ministers. In total, there are about 200 APPGs although some of these exist to justify trips to foreign countries, many of them do important work challenging the government and raising awareness of important issues.
In a previous post of March 2020 I celebrated the formation of an APGG for Men and Boys (see here). I also expressed concern that Her Majesty’s opposition, the Labour Party, hadn’t put forward a single representative. For most of my adult life, I was a member of the Labour Party member and I was concerned about Labour’s poor showing among male voters and its growing reputation as a feminist and at times frankly misandrist party. In another post, I noted that there were about 20 APPGs with a focus on issues affecting women and girls and the Labour Party had representation on all of these but seemingly it was unable to spare the time for the only APPG that focused on men and boys (see here).
I recommend the following YouTube video on the Glass Blindspot channel that features an interview with Mike Bell of Equi-Law UK who was one of the driving forces behind the foundation of the APPG for men and boys.
The part of the video that really caught my attention starts at about 1min 34 seconds. Mike Bell recounts the difficulty recruiting Labour MPs to the group and says…..
It proved totally impossible to get any Labour MPs and some of the early feedback I received gave me the impression, but I can not be certain, that they are concerned with the backlash from some members of their party……… what we know in general is that if you speak up for men you can be accused of misogyny….but if you are talking about boys underachieving at primary school this is scarcely misogyny and how can concern about male suicides be an attack on women?“
I think we can guess the kind of MPs who might be responsible for a backlash, just watch the video below and you will get an idea of what may be worrying some Labour MPs.
I am pleased that the Labour Party now has two serving MPs on the APPG to men and boys. They are Debbie Abrahams and TobyPerkins.
Debbie Abrahams is MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth. Her webpage can be found here. Toby Perkins is MP for Chesterfield and Stavely. His webpage can be found here.
It is good news that the Labour Party has belatedly decided to have representation on the APPG for men and boys. If it is to have any chance of repairing its electoral fortunes it needs to narrow the gender vote gap and restore its reputation with men. I know little about the two MPs but I hope their time is profitable and they can influence the wider Labour Party.