MEN'S issues are being pushed off the agenda and the post of minister for men should be created, MPs have heard.

Conservative Ben Bradley pressed ministers to look again at equalities legislation and to ensure people in Whitehall hold departments to account, asking: "Why have a minister for women but not one for men?

"Why single out one characteristic for special mention?"

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The Mansfield MP also asked for an action plan to consider male suicide, reforms to the child maintenance service, a long-term plan to improve alcohol addiction services, support for new fathers to be boosted and support for "left behind" boys in education.

As part of the debate in parliament, Bracknell MP James Sunderland also spoke of the need to end the stigma around men's mental health.

He told MPs: "In 1998 my very closest friend sadly committed suicide.

"It was a devastating event for me and his family, and all of his friends, and I am very well versed by the mess that is left behind.

"We must end the stigma of men's mental health and we need to commend the truth that it is okay not to feel okay. So, please seek help is the simple answer."

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Summing up the debate, equalities minister Kemi Badenoch said: "I would urge any man, whatever his age or background, who is struggling to speak to a GP and seek out mental health support delivered by charities or the NHS.

"Services are still operating and it is better to get help early."

Support can be sought from Samaritans, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - call 116 123 for free