A ministerial suggestion that losing your job may be good for your mental health has been slammed as "breathtaking stupidity".
Health minister, Ben Bradshaw, had said that because men are "notoriously reluctant" to seek treatment, more would be encouraged to do so if they were unemployed.
His comment was immediately condemned as "crass" and "insensitive" by the Tories, who have demanded that Mr Bradshaw apologise.
Mr Bradshaw had said: "We know from experience both in this country and abroad, that issues like mental health, more men go and see their GPs if they are unemployed, there can be an advantage from that because men are notoriously reluctant to seek healthcare and health advice."
Later, a spokesman said: "Mental health problems and demands on GP services go up in a recession. Ben Bradshaw was simply stating a fact that people are more likely to visit their GP if they are unemployed and that visiting a GP can be a good thing, particularly for men who can be reluctant to do so."