UK
08/07/2013 12:56 BST | Updated 09/07/2013 15:38 BST

Boris Johnson Suggests Women Only Go To University To Find A Husband

UPDATE: Politicians have called Boris Johnson "nasty and divisive" after sexist comments he made in 2007 re-emerged. In a newspaper column, he said female graduates were to blame for rising house prices and children of working women are more likely to "mug you on the street".

A sexism row threatens to engulf the Mayor's office after Boris Johnson suggested women only attend university in order to find a husband.

The comments were unearthed by City Hall blogger Adam Bienkov, who published a recording of Johnson jokingly telling a City Hall event that women "had to find men to marry".

The remark was made last week at the launch of the World Islamic Economic Forum, where Johnson spoke alongside the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

boris islamic

Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and Boris Johnson address delegates

It was an off-the-cuff remark in response to a question to the Malaysian premier about women's rights in neighbouring Islamic countries.

Razak said: "Before coming here my officials have told me that the latest university intake in Malaysia, a Muslim country, 68% will be women entering our universities.”

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And Johnson interjects: "They’ve got to find men to marry."

Raucous laughter was heard from the audience following the comment.

The newly-emerged recording of the comments caused an outcry on social media. The Huffington Post UK has asked the mayor's office for Johnson's response to the outcry.

It is not the first time Johnson has been accused of sexism.

Last March, Jennette Arnold, Labour chair of the assembly, wrote to Johnson after discussing the issue of his attitude to women with all eight female cross-party members on the assembly.

"I have not been more robust towards female rather than male assembly members and I do not believe I have been remotely sexist," Johnson replied.