TORY MP Philip Davies' 10 Minute Rule Bill on Hereditary Titles (Female Succession) has passed its first hurdle in the Commons.

Mr Davies, whose Shipley constituency takes in Bingley, Menston and Burley, said the House of Lords should follow in the footsteps of the royal family and allow daughters to take on noble titles from their parents, as women's continuing ineligibility was "unacceptable and indefensible".

Protestations came from SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes (West Dunbartonshire), who said Mr Davies was "disingenuous" in his claim to be acting in the interest of equality as he is a noted opponent of feminism.

Mr Davies claimed he had consistently spoken out where he saw inequality and said the current situation where hereditary titles only pass to sons was unfair and should change.

He said: "This Bill would deal with another area where women are treated unfairly for no other reason than that they are a woman and that is unacceptable and indefensible."

Mr Davies added that he was not trying to play a "game of numbers" and increase the number of women in the Lords, and that changing the law on hereditary peerages would not affect sons currently in line for succession.

He said: "Some people might look at this as a game of numbers - that this change is needed to get more female hereditary peers in the House of Lords but, to be clear, that is definitely not where I am coming from.

"I refute the notion that any institution should have a particular number of men or women in it in the pursuit of what I believe is unrepresentative representation by tick box.

"I've often said I couldn't care less whether the House of Commons was 100% female, as long as people are here based on fairness and real equality of opportunity. It should be irrelevant what someone's sex is, as it should be their views and their contribution that count."

However, Mr Docherty-Hughes objected to Mr Davies' Bill as "disingenuous to the core" and repeated the accusation that so often the Speaker intervened to ask him to stop.

Railing against the Tory MP's previous anti-feminist votes and speeches, Mr Docherty-Hughes said: "If he believed in equality, he would not have given a 91-minute filibuster against the Istanbul Convention against domestic violence ... For the record I think he is talking tosh."

The SNP MP said those believing in equality would do well to focus more on Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality) women fighting for pensions equality rather than for Lords and Ladies, which he said was just another way to "embed privilege".

He said: "If we believe in creating equality then let's abolish the hereditary privilege of hereditary peers that creates a level playing field for every man and woman or however they identify themselves, which may confuse him even more...

"It cannot be, in a parliamentary democracy, that we believe that someone whose father chopped someone's head off in the 12th century has a place of honour and economic privilege and political leverage in a parliamentary democracy.

"It's an affront to those who have campaigned to ensure liberty and dignity for all."

However, Mr Docherty-Hughes said he would not push the issue to a vote, allowing the Bill to be tabled for a second hearing on Friday March 22, although it is unlikely to be heard that day.