The Polish MEP recruited by Nigel Farage to save Ukip's group in the European Parliament has joked about wife beating and defended Adolf Hitler's tax policy.
Last week the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group risked collapse after Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule announced she was leaving to sit as an independent. Groups in the European Parliament are formed to secure positions on committees and speaking time as well as receive funding. They need representatives from at least seven EU states to be recognised.
However Ukip today announced that the grouping had been rescued. Farage said the EFDD was "back with a bang" after Polish MEP Robert Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz had decided to join in order to make up the numbers.
When asked about wife-beating by the Wroclaw Gazette in May of this year, Iwaszkiewicz said he was "convinced" that beating would "help bring many wives back down to earth". He added he did not beat his wife as "we always got along" and there were "no problems".
Iwaszkiewicz also said that "unfortunately, I never beat my children." Asked why he had said "unfortunately," the Polish politician explained: "Because it would have toughened them up. It would have strengthened their character and they would be able to behave better in crisis situations."
He also defended his party leader over controversial statements about Hitler and the Holocaust in the same interview, saying: "If taxes were lower in Hitler's time, and now they're higher, what's wrong with wanting to say so?"
Iwaszkiewicz insisted that he was not "glorifying Hitler", adding that he was "commonly recognised" as "a rascal, a criminal and so on".
In a statement later posted on Facebook, he said he had been using "sarcasm and irony" to mock "relentless attacks and distortions concerning alleged statements" by fellow members of his party.
Iwaszkiewicz's party in Poland, the Congress of New Right, has four MEPs and is used to controversy. The party's leader, Jorun Korwin-Mikke, believes that women should not be allowed to vote. "I haven’t changed my beliefs. Women still should not have the right to vote. Just choose any political meeting at random and see how many women are present," he said in 2007.
A monarchist, Korwin-Mikke has also said he believes that democracy is the "stupidest form of government ever conceived".
Iwaszkiewicz said today the EFDD was "vital and unique" and needed to be helped. "I joined the EFDD Group because of two important values - opposition to EU bureaucracy and support for free markets so firmly supported by the Ukip delegation," he said.
Welcoming him, Farage said: "European Parliament President Schulz's part in trying to shut us down last week was contemptible. It was manipulative backroom politics of the worst kind. But in his eagerness to silence the Eurosceptic voice he acted prematurely.
"EU Federalists will be sitting in a corner somewhere slowly rocking muttering the words 'please make the Eurosceptics go away' over & over. We will now make the EU's centralising fanatics regret their short-lived bout of hubris."
Ukip has previously had to defend its allegiance with other controversy-laden members of the EFDD, including the far-right Sweden Democrat party.
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