A CONSERVATIVE MP opened an International Men’s Day debate by appearing to suggest that replacing traditionally male characters with women drives men to commit crimes.

The debate, held on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, saw Don Valley Tory MP Nick Fletcher argue the need for positive role models for men and criticise language like “toxic masculinity”.

During the Westminster Hall speech, Fletcher said that society needs to find a way to celebrate masculinity rather than “continually vilify” it.

He called for more male teachers in schools as well as an increase of clubs for boys as ways for young men to see positive examples of masculinity.

Fletcher then took aim at the “tiny yet very vocal minority” which he says believes “every male character or good role model must have a female replacement”.

“One only needs to look at the discussions around who will play the next James Bond,” he told the MPs present. “And it’s not just James Bond. 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 it any wonder we are seeing so many young men committing crimes?” he asked.

“These programmes make crime look cool,” he added. “Trust me a lifetime in prison is not cool and neither is living with the memory of a stabbed son or daughter.”

He went on: "There is no doubt we have witnessed crimes occur over the past year in which the victims have been women … as mentioned as the father of a daughter my heart goes out to the victims of such crimes and their families. And yet the awful events which have taken place have in many ways led to the word masculinity being followed by the word toxic."

A clip of the MP making the claims was viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media.

SNP MSP Karen Adam argued that Fletcher’s comments in the video show that “culture needs to change”.

Actress and campaigner Jameela Jamil asked if the MP had been “reading out his red pill Reddit thread”. Reddit is a forum where the Matrix-inspired phrase “red pill” is often used by men’s rights groups who believe men’s rights are under attack.

Historian Greg Jenner joked: “It’s true. I’ve never seen Doctor Who, but I still felt compelled to become an arsonist - if only Christopher Eccleston could have saved me from my obsessive love of deliberately-caused infernos.”

Labour MP Dawn Butler was also not impressed with Fletcher’s argument. “And I give you the Tory party who just in case you forgot are running the country,” she said while sharing the clip. “Just imagine for a second what they talk about in private.”