UK

Godfrey Bloom, Ukip 'Bongo Bongo' MEP, In Sexism Row

15/08/2013 09:57 BST | Updated 15/08/2013 12:23 BST

Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom has claimed underqualified women are taking jobs they don't deserve because employers are "prejudiced" against men.

The controversial Euro MP, who hit headlines recently for stating his displeasure that so much foreign aid was going to "bongo bongo land", has risked sparking further outrage following his contentious remarks.

Mr Bloom, the MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Bloom – who previously argued that "a woman's place is cleaning behind the fridge" – was speaking at a debate about gender quotas at the Institute of Economic Affairs, when he said women were being promoted beyond their abilities.

godfrey bloom

Godfrey Bloom has said employers are prejudiced against men

He even suggested female members of the armed forces were only being allowed to pass courses, simply because examiners "didn't have the bottle" to fail them.

Bloom, who previously claimed that "no self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age," added there is "certainly" prejudice against women working in the public sector or a reasonably large company "who can smell which way the wind is blowing."

"You are far more likely to be advanced by being a woman in your quest for promotion than disadvantaged and I know that," he said.

Referring to Nigel Farage, Bloom added he and the Ukip leader "could give you personal stories how that's worked in the [European] commission where very, very highly qualified men have been jumped over to get a woman into a more senior position with nowhere near the qualifications."

"I saw it even years ago in the army. I saw for example on a squadron commanders' course, I saw ladies who frankly shouldn't have passed the course, passed because nobody had the bottle to fail a woman where they would have failed a man. So I think it goes in the other direction."

Joining in on the debate, Ukip treasurer and former Tory donor Stuart Wheeler also told the audience that women's low representation on company boards was perfectly justified due to, of all things, a lack of skill at chess and bridge.

"I would just like to challenge the idea that it is necessarily right to have a lot of women or any particular number on a board," he said, politics.co.uk reported.

"Business is very, very competitive and if you take the performance of women in another competitive area, which is sport where they have no strength advantage: chess, bridge, poker - women come absolutely nowhere."

Panelist Dr Clare Gerada slammed his remark as "a disingenuous, sexist comment."

Earlier this year Ukip's only female MEP quit the party after claiming that Nigel Farage "does not like women".