"No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age", Godfrey Bloom MEP has said.
The Euro MP for UK Independence Party claimed he represented Yorkshire women who always have dinner on the table when men get home.
His comments provoked a storm of protests including Labour Euro MP Glenys Kinnock who called UKIP attitudes "neanderthal".
Mr Bloom is one of eleven UKIP MEPs who are campaigning to bring "Britain back from Brussels".
Can the UKIP represent the views of women? Is this what you expected of the party? Do you share Mr Bloom's frustration with political correctness? What's your view?
This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.
Although we might not support what Mr Bloom said, the whole point of a European Parliament is to debate issues from all viewpoints and not merely sit around a table nodding in agreement over the politically correct middle ground.
G Hodder, Horsham Sussex
I am a Yorkshire woman and I must say I am deeply offended by Mr Bloom's comments about us. Does he honestly believe that all Yorkshire women wish to be nothing more than char-ladies tied to the kitchen sink with a brood of screaming brats and cooking a roast dinner (with Yorkshire puddings of course) for an ingrate of a husband!? I know plenty of Yorkshire lasses who happily thrive on having a successful career and bearing a handful of wonderful children at the same time (and him indoors microwaving the dinner)- a lot more than can be said for Mr Bloom!
Vicky, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
I don't know the context or the tone in which the remarks were made but there is an argument that the law forces businessmen to pay huge amounts of money to cover for a pregnant woman. There are real costs for the small businessman who - by definition - does not have huge resources at his disposal. If the State wants these benefits for expectant mothers, perhaps the State should pay for them rather than using other people's money.
Thomas Murphy, Crowthorne, England
As a woman of child-bearing years who has elected not to have children, I can only say I agree with him (although his gruff Yorkshire way of saying things might have stirred things more than they should have!). I'm tired of covering for those at work whose priorities lay elsewhere. How about if a non-parent said they wanted a year off, paid leave, and expect to have their jobs back, flexible working and all the other rights introduced or proposed by this Government? If I were an employer, I would seriously think twice about what it would really cost me to employ a parent. I feel that legislation has gone too far and now discriminates against non-parents. We even have to pay for their subsidised child care and child tax credits! Parents made a life choice - why should employers and other staff have to fund and cover for them?
I'm 29 and of child-bearing age. Does this mean I have to give up all hope of finding future employment due to the fact that I want children in the next few years? Oh goodness! I'm destined for the ironing board! No, Mr Godfrey Bloom, I think this is one case where we can honestly say "you have put your proverbial foot in your mouth".
Kaz, Manchester, UK
I am a woman of child bearing age. I don't have children but if I did, personally I would like nothing more than to ditch my office job and all its politics and look after my children full time. Unfortunately, as house prices are not stuck in the 1950's I have to work to keep a roof over my head! Why are women always penalized for having to work hard and juggle so many different things?
This just shows UKIP in its true colours. A narrow minded party of predominantly 50+, middle class white males, who have a particular type of olde worlde view. I understand Mr Blooms point to some extent, but the alternative is not something we want to consider. Yet again we see UKIP to be a negative party, who are against everything, but have no real answers to the problems we face today.
Tom Mason, Bristol, UK
Let's hope that all of Mr. Bloom's (male) employees apply for paternity leave simultaneously (as the law entitles them to do). Then see how he reacts!
Godfrey Bloom is a hilarious joke. Not only has he destroyed his own political credibility in one fell swoop, but he has also damaged the reputation of his party. If these are really the ultimate social goals of the UKIP, I am confused as to how the UK will benefit from this apparent independence.
Richard Williams, East Midlands
Perhaps Mr. Bloom ought to refuse to employ young single people (always taking Mondays off with 24-hour flu), smokers (always outside having a fag break), or in fact anyone who isn't willing to give him every waking hour so he can make more money.
I don't like Mr Bloom's comments, but I am glad that he made them. He vocalised what many employers are quietly thinking as they throw a CV in the bin or select a person for redundancy.
Catherine O, Maidenhead, UK
Whilst I cannot totally agree with everything Mr Bloom said I do understand his point regarding running a small business. Those obsessed with women's rights need to consider that maybe small businesses need some rights as well. When a woman takes maternity leave the business has to cover the cost of this leave AND the wage of their replacement. All this without the guarantee that the woman will ever return to the company (even though the job still has to be left open for them). Such expense can and does bankrupt a company - particularly when they are just starting out.
UKIP are now showing their true colours.
Godfrey Bloom speaks common sense. Where are small businesses supposed to find the money to satisfy the ridiculous legislation that comes from Brussels?
Does this mean that UKIP are supporters of an often neglected but substantial portion of the workforce - retired women? Or perhaps, as is more likely, they'd find a reason to exclude them too.
Jay Raspin, London, UK
I think he meant some of it as a joke. But it's a shame he came out with such rubbish as some of what he said needs a closer look. The chaos left behind, especially in small firms, when a woman goes off on maternity leave does deserve further scrutiny to see how it can best be managed. At present I would not be surprised if some firms did not hire women of child-bearing age and that is an unfortunate effect of the current situation. It is such a shame that this issue has been clouded by other ill-chosen remarks he made at the same time.
Matthew Knowles, Loughton, UK
Setting aside that mothers can still work, presumably the MEP in question thinks that every woman of child-bearing age has children? Does he have any evidence to support this?
Phil Evans, Keele, UK
I agree with his comments. Very sensible. Women today have so many rights that the basic fundamental institution of marriage (the family cornerstone of any strong society) in the UK is just about wrecked! Thank you feminism, Mrs Kinnock and all.
R Steward, Hampshire
I'm a working woman of childbearing age but who's going to provide for me if I don't work? Gone are the days when women leave their parents to be supported by a husband immediately. Many of us have no choice but to work, regardless of whether that's what we want or not.
Anya, London, UK
What is this man talking about? Did he sleep through the past fifty years? I guess his next comments will feature a return to sending children under ten up chimneys/down coal mines to earn their keep.
Shaun Lawrence, Barnsley, UK
Well we keep on hearing how things were better in the 60's & 70's, wasn't the fact that women tended to stay at home & look after the home & kids part of it. I think he's great, between him & Nick Griffin, politics has suddenly become interesting again!
Look at it this way - he's shown the UKIP for what it is. Daft, bigoted and ignorant. Hooray. Hopefully no more votes for them.
Jane Black, Isle of Man
A small business does not have the economic power to train staff who could leave for between 6 months and a year, who will then have a right to come back to a job. They have to pay for maternity leave as well as employing and training a temp to fill their position in during this leave. Although this is totally unfair on parents whether male or female who wish to take this time off, it is understandable.
If you look into what he actually goes on to say, you see he was being ironic, and is actually saying that EU equality legislation can hinder the careers of young women. But of course, sensationalist headlines paint Mr Bloom as a villain.
"No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever" vote for the UK Independence Party.
Bob, Langport UK
This MP's comments are very out of date, but I do agree with Keith from Essex. I have also had to cover for the parents whose kids have a sniffle. Unfortunately, though some women use pregnancy & child rearing as an excuse to slack off work, which is putting our 'cause' back as well.
Jane, Staffordshire, UK
More proof, if any were needed, that the UKIP is essentially a refuge for eccentric middle-aged men, undergoing their mid-life crises. I look forward to more gems like this one, though sadly the fun won't last, because who's going to take these chaps seriously? Only fellow eccentric middle-aged men, I suppose.
Jon E, France
I run a very small business and as much as Blooms comments may offend people, there is a real point in his Dickensian bluster. If any one employee (who individually make up a huge percentage of our staff) was unavailable for work for a long period, during which I had to retain and pay them, my business would fail. Society does need to support everyone and women should be helped during pregnancy and during the child's early years, but small businesses like mine cannot afford it. If this happened to us it would be at the expense of my business and the welfare of my other employees who would lose their jobs.
Steve H, UK
As a successful employer I would be wary about giving a job to any of the people who have posted here so far.
Move over Bernard Manning and Roy 'Chubby' Brown. Mr Bloom is a gifted comedian and I can't wait for the Christmas video.
Lorraine, St Albans, UK
Absolutely disgraceful, but not surprising. maybe he should stick to bringing Britain out of Europe which is what he was voted in for. Clearly no one should vote for this dinosaur party in the future with attitudes like this.
Barry Bennett, Bournemouth
I'll tell you what. When the house prices come down and the men get paid enough to support his whole family, then I'll stay at home and clean behind the fridge and anywhere else Mr Bloom wants me to.
Vanessa, Essex, UK
It makes me wonder how many people share his views. I have twice been asked at interview if I am planning on having children, which I'm sure is not a legal question to ask. This sort of attitude might explain why I find it so difficult to find employment.
Helen, Exeter, UK
Could he possibly have made these comments as he new they would put the UKIP in the media spotlight again?
I wonder will Joan Collins now reconsider her membership of this party?
Alan, London, UK
If I ever meet Mr Bloom he will have his dinner alright but it won't be on the table!! Disgraceful remarks from someone who should know better. I hope he enjoys his time as an MEP because he's just lost all his female voters. Or is he hoping to abolish that right too?
Kiltie, Staffs, UK
Godfrey Bloom's is bang on. I run small business and since 1997 have refused to employ anyone because employment regulations a far to restrictive. I also no of many other's who share my view. When the next major recession arrives and it will, unemployment will soar and will be compounded by these regulations
We're a small PR company (4 directors - female, child-bearing age, 1 employee - male, child-bearing age). We're currently paying two directors for maternity leave - 3 months full pay, 3 months half pay. And yet we're still making a profit. Could it be that Mr Bloom just doesn't have enough confidence in the ability of UK small businessmen to manage their businesses properly?
Only the knee-jerk anti Europeans who voted for UKIP will not be appalled by Blooms comments. The UKIP's true colours are coming out in public now - Britain out of Europe, women back to the kitchen - policies so sham and empty that it's a waste of newsprint to write about them.
Russell Harris, London, UK
Though I don't agree with him, he's done what he was elected to do - highlight the enormous amount of waste at the EU. Did anyone else realise we were paying for a European Parliament women's rights committee?
I hope those who voted for UKIP will soon start to realise what a flaky lot they are. One MEP has already lost the party whip for failing to disclose a fraud charge and now this guy wants to send women back to Victorian times. Let's hope that voters will soon relegate the flash-in-the-pan UKIP to the pages of history.
David, London UK
As a working woman who returned to work after my first 2 children, I can see what he means. The current laws make it very expensive to the company when an employee is pregnant, not only in maternity pay, but time off for anti-natal classes, employing a temp to cover during the maternity leave... Perhaps the government should introduce some help towards these cost.
As a woman from Yorkshire this just makes me laugh and seems to be an exercise just to get publicity. Yorkshire is no different to any county in that women take on a variety of roles, it may be home making or it may be lawyer. Bloom better be careful next time a Yorkshire woman cooks him dinner it will probably be laced with arsenic!!
Kate, Ilkley, West Yorkshire
I'm glad that Mr Bloom made these comments. Being an American living and working overseas, and a feminist, these comments only illustrate the nightmare I have been living in the workplace for the past four years. Maybe now men and women alike should realize why - the women's rights movement should not and cannot die.
Michelle McCann, Dublin, Ireland
Tricky one this. As a mum of a five-year-old and a full-time worker (not through choice), it is slowly dawning on me that while we like to think that we can 'have it all'(and many of us are of an age where it was drummed in to us that we can) the reality is that there is a heavy price to pay - bone-aching tiredness, stress and a continual feeling of being torn between home and work. Frankly, I'm not sure any self-respecting small businessman with a brain would employ the arrogant Mr Bloom anyway, even though some small-brained voters won him his place . . .
Ruth, Weymouth, Dorset UK
Well, why I am I not surprised. During the election campaign we had homophobic comments and racist comments from members of UKIP, so this kind of comment is not exactly unexpected. UKIP are just a middle-class version of the BNP and equally despicable. Anyone who voted for them should be ashamed of themselves.
Malcolm Powers, Reading, UK
The comment goes a little far, but it's a valid point. If I were an employer, and conducting an interview with a woman who informed me she was recently married, I would scribble her name from my shortlist the moment she left the room. Why employ someone who will most likely subsequently not turn up for work for six months, but still claim a considerable amount of pay, while I have to hire someone else to fill her role? It's madness!
Gareth Rippingale, UK
I believe Mr Bloom has a point, in more than one interview I have been asked if I intended having children, often in a round about fashion. At first I told the truth that we planned to have children in 5 years time and was rejected. Since then I have given the impression that I am unable to have children and been offered 3 jobs...
Political incorrect or not, for a small business this is reality. They can not afford to take somebody on, train them up and then they go on maternity leave for months. To all the woman our there complaining: He his highlighting why you may be finding it difficult to get employment. Its good to hear some reality compared with the current obsession with political correctness. P.S. I am sure there are plenty of men that cook the dinner in Yorkshire.
I heard Kinnock on the radio last night. She seems to have no idea at all how a small business works. It isn't a question of "rights"- it's survival in a cut-and-thrust marketplace. An employer hires people to WORK, not take time off to have babies.
Fiona Briggs, UK
Well, at last the UKIP are showing their colours, this kind of view can set women's rights back and damage the economy.
Gail McMillan, Aberdeen
Can someone explain to this man that women between the ages of 13 and 40 are of child bearing age. Does this mean that all women, unless sterile, are deemed unemployable? If Mr Bloom had his way I'd never get a job as I am 24. The UKIP will loose a lot of support for these comments as it shows how far behind in attitudes they are compared to most political parties. What a disgrace to have a politician make these kinds of comments in the 21st century.
Perhaps the government should produce a report showing how much it costs to employ a lady of child-bearing age against the costs of employing a man of similar age. The extra costs may be absorbed in larger companies, but it can make a lot of difference to a small business employing 10 of less people.
These are comments from a narrow minded party, who fail to think deeply on issues. Women have fought hard for many rights over the last 100 years. Even as a man I don't feel that women's role should be house work and so on.
I think his comments are outrageous, but I think his view is one shared by many male employers. In my last job, my (male) boss told me that the only reason they'd employed me (even though I was the best candidate) was that I wasn't in a relationship and not likely to 'move off and start sprogging' in the near future. Charming.
There is a difference between a lack of political correctness and sexism. There is also a difference between running a business well and down right capitalist greed. This man does not understand either and so should not be in his current position of power.
Omide Deinali, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Many women of childbearing age are contributors to the workforce before, during, and after having children. The key to success is flexibility on the part of the employer and the employee. Marginalizing women to the kitchen is ignoring a potential population of smart, motivated employees.
Sara, Washington, D.C.
Most of my female friends at university were from Yorkshire and what this man is saying is utter rubbish. Yorkshire has just as many intelligent working women who have better things to do than worry about what is lurking behind the fridge as anywhere else. If I was a Yorkshirewoman I would be none too flattered by his comments and if my boyfriend came home sporting views like these and demanding his dinner be on the table he would be getting very short shrift indeed.
I am a working wife and mother, I raised my kid, went to work and had the meal on the table for them at a decent time. Mr. Euro MP, wants to live in the real world. Perhaps he would like to live as a working wife and mother for a session and then see if he can make the same comments
Ahender, Walsall, England
The fact that this man was elected to represent any woman is a travesty. I am a working 'lady of child-bearing age' I have no plans to have any children but for someone as ignorant as he appears to be to say that I shouldn't be employed is absolutely ridiculous. Perhaps his mother should have smacked him more often as a child - he might be better behaved.
Kimberly Down, UK
Bless the funny little man, he wants to go back to the 1950s! Perhaps he would also like to see the resurrection of rationing and outside toilets?
The same can be said of men who have children. How many times do those of us without children have to cover for a parent rushing home because little Johnny has grazed his knee?