Devizes MP Danny Kruger has expressed his support for fellow Member Nick Fletcher, who prompted a viral storm after he was misunderstood to be suggesting that casting women as Doctor Who or as the new James Bond risked leading young men into crime.

Leading a Westminster Hall debate about International Men’s Day, Mr Fletcher, the Conservative MP for Don Valley said casting women in TV and film roles previously given to men was concerning because the only cultural role models left for young men are criminals.

Mr Fletcher argued, “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.

"One only needs to consider the discussions about who will next play James Bond to see that. And it is not just James Bond: in recent years we have seen Doctor Who, the Ghostbusters, Luke Skywalker and The Equalizer all replaced by women, and men are left with the Krays and Tommy Shelby [a character in the BBC drama Peaky Blinders].”

He continued: “Is it any wonder that so many young men are committing crimes? Such programmes make crime look cool.”

Describing the “awful events over the past year in which the victims have been women”, Mr Fletcher said there had been too much focus on the idea of toxic masculinity - “Yet again we have to ask ourselves: ‘Who does this help?’ I have an answer: no one. How will this situation make boys and young men see themselves? Poorly, that is how.”

In a subsequent tweeted statement, Mr Fletcher hit back at his critics and said he was in fact not making a link between Doctor Who being played by a woman and men committing crime.

He said his ‘nuanced’ point was ‘misconstrued’ and that he was in fact making the point that the majority of role models on TV for young boys are ‘violent criminals’.

He posted: “As has been alleged by several lazy individuals, I did not link a Doctor Who being female to crime being committed by men. In fact, I was making a statement that boys and young men all 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 to Dr Who being a female to crime being committed by men. As alluded to earlier in my speech, teachers, parents and carers need to teach young men and boys that makes can make a positive difference.

"Boys need positive make role models, and that is a point that I will continue to reiterate and never apologise for making.”

Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Penistone and Stockbridge, supported Mr Fletcher in a follow-up Tweet, posting: “It should not go unsaid that Nick Fletcher is a working class man himself, someone who, when he was made redundant as an electrician, started his own business, dedicated much of his adult life to mentoring young people and against all odds became a Member of Parliament. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to comment of the challenges facing boys today.”

Mr Kruger re-tweeted and added: “Very good point by Miriam Coates MP on Nick Fletcher’s speech last week.”