Public back proposals to create a Minister for Men finds new poll, by Alistair Thompson

• 72 per cent of those who expressed an opinion want a Minister for Men
• Seven in ten recognise the vital role played by dads in society
• Three in 10 know a man or men who have committed suicide
• Four in 10 think the family courts treat men unfairly

The British public back the creation of a Minister for Men, who would focus on reducing male suicides and health problems, according to a major new poll.

The poll, commissioned by the campaign group Fathers 4 Justice (F4J) is being released ahead of International Men’s Day. It found half the public (51 per cent) back the ministerial role, rising to seven in 10 (72 per cent) of those who expressed an opinion one way or the other.

Asked, what the focus should be for the Minister, one in three (33 per cent) of those surveyed said “reducing high rates of suicides among men”, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said “reducing depression among men and one in five (20 per cent) thought a more general focus on men’s health.

Also popular was the idea of encouraging the presence of fathers or dads in families, popular with one in eight or 13 per cent, rising to one in six (16 per cent) of blue-collar voters.

Matt O’Connor, the founder of Fathers 4 Justice commented: “Earlier this week the Prime Minister shuffled his Cabinet, but there was one appointment that he failed to make – a Minister for Men. This survey of over 2,000 people clearly shows the public backs the creation of a Minister with a focus on men’s issues, similar to the women’s minister. This person would work to tackle the epidemic of male suicides, roughly 4,500 per year, the appalling health inequalities, and helping dads to play a positive role in the lives of their children.”

The poll serves as a rebuke to the Government, which has resisted repeated calls for the new ministerial position to be created from groups such as F4J and even its own backbenchers.

In September, Nick Fletcher the MP for Don Valley said there should be a Minister for Men, mirroring the Minister for Women, with a particular focus on health inequalities, encouraging more male teachers and tackling the influence of misogynists on social media such as influencer Andrew Tate.

The poll found strong support for the role of dads when bringing up children. Asked, about fatherless, which affects almost one in three children in the UK, seven in 10 (71 per cent) including six in 10 women agreed that it was better for a child to grow up with a father/dad than without one, just seven per cent disagreed. 56 per cent thought children who grow up with a father/dad were healthier and happier and six in 10, (61 per cent) said the role of fathers/dads was underplayed in society.

While fully half (52 per cent) of those surveyed, agreed that the Government should do more to tackle fatherlessness with just one in 10 (11 per cent) disagreeing.

Fathers 4 Justice, which is better known for the colourful protests of their supporters who dress in superhero costumes, has in recent years, called for the creation of the Minister for Men, reform of the family court system and policies aimed at reducing fatherlessness.

The poll also found a high proportion of people who knew someone who had grown up without a father at home. Nearly half (47 per cent), said they knew several people who this applied to, while one in eight, (13 per cent) saying they knew many.

Tragically, a full three in 10 (31 per cent) of those surveyed personally knew a man or men who had committed suicide. This was highest in Scotland (38 per cent) and London (37 per cent). Of all respondents, half (51 per cent) knew of some or many men who suffered from depression. Among 35–44 year-olds this figure rose to 62 per cent, and among 45-54 year-olds it was 61 per cent.

The poll concluded by asking about the treatment of men by the family courts. By a significant margin of four to one, 42 per cent versus 11 per cent, the poll found the public said that fathers/dads seem to be unfairly treated by the legal system.

Mr O’Connor concluded: “When we first called for the creation of the Minister for Men several years ago, we were derided by some, indeed at least one academic claimed dads were not even needed. But the debate has shifted as year by year the statistics show that men die younger, are more likely to commit suicide, end up in jail and are less likely to get five good GCSEs. The public has always backed us and slowly politicians are catching up.

“My question to the Government is as we mark International Men’s Day, when are they going to finally take action and say that men need a champion in Whitehall, making the case for policies that will improve their lives and the lives of their families.”

Alistair Thompson

Alistair Thompson is the Director of Team Britannia PR and a journalist.