POLITICS

Labour MP Austin Mitchell Stuns Charity Boss With 'So Anorexia Works?' Question

29/01/2015 10:26 GMT | Updated 29/01/2015 10:59 GMT

Veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell has raised eyebrows by choosing to compare a watchdog's reduced budget to having anorexia.

Mitchell, whose outspoken remarks have caused controversy on numerous occasions in the past, made the cringeworthy comparison after grilling Charity Commission chief executive Paula Sussex during a Commons public accounts committee hearing.

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Sussex told the 80-year-old MP that the Commission was able to cope with a reduced budget thanks to a £8 million Treasury lifeline to improve its operations. "So anorexia works?" Mitchell responded.

austin mitchell labour mp Labour MP Austin Mitchell

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  • After asking Mitchell to repeat his comment, Sussex awkwardly laughed and replied: "I perhaps wouldn't put it quite in those terms... but investment into more productive working is certainly going to help us."

    Last May, Mitchell, who is stepping down this May, sparked calls from Tory ministers to be sacked as a Labour MP after posting a tweet calling the US Viagra manufacturer Pfizer "rapists".

    He previously suggested that women prefer to discuss family and "social issues" rather than "big issues like 'should we invade Iraq?'."

    The Grimsby MP made his controversial remarks as he told BBC Radio 4's Women's Hour why he did not think it was a good thing for there to be more women in Parliament.

    "I think the problem is simply this, that parliament with more women is going to be more anxious to discuss issues relevant to the people, that is to say family issues, social issues," he said. "And less inclined to discuss big issues like should we invade Iraq."