POLITICS

Ukip MEP Stuart Agnew Says Women Wanting Babies Lack 'Ambition' For The Top

28/11/2013 12:41 GMT | Updated 28/11/2013 12:51 GMT

Ukip MEP Stuart Agnew seems to have stepped into the void left by Godfrey Bloom, who jokingly called women "sluts" for not cleaning behind the fridge, by suggesting women lack the ambition to "go right to the top" because their desire for a baby "gets in the way".

Speaking in the European Parliament in a debate about gender quotas on Tuesday, Agnew said: "If you look at the people who get degrees more, women get them and they are getting the jobs in the work place, but for various reasons, they don't have the ambition to go right to the top because something gets in the way. It's called a baby.

"I've never had a baby, but I understand if you do have a baby it can change your life - it changes your ambitions. So, the route is there. Those females who really want to get to the top do so."

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Labour MEP Mary Honeyball condemned Agnew's "staggering" comments, saying: "They reveal once again UKIP’s prehistoric attitudes to women. UKIP is a party with no women as elected representatives, which will be running no female candidates anywhere in the East of England next time round, whose only female MEP left the party because it was too sexist. They have consistently – in both word and deed – committed to reduce the rights of women. Godfrey Bloom really was the tip of the iceberg.

“Agnew’s rant was also totally incoherent. He admits that parenthood can be a barrier for women at work, yet seems to think this biological fact is something women can overcome through willpower. By doing this he effectively reduces the issue down to a straight choice for women: have a baby or have a job."

Agnew defended his comments in a statement: “I was certainly not trying to suggest that all women who have babies don’t make it to the top. Margaret Thatcher is an example that springs to mind!

“It is a great pity that there hasn’t been more focus on the EU’s mandatory gender quota itself. The penalties include closing down the company, if they have too many men or women. Dissolving the company would hardly benefit either gender employed there. All would be unemployed.”