21/01/2014 08:12 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Nigel Farage Under Fire For Saying Mothers 'Worth Less' Than Male Colleagues

BEN STANSALL via Getty Images
UK Independent Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage enjoys a pint of beer in a pub in central London on May 3, 2013. The anti-immigration UK Independence Party (UKIP) was celebrating some of its best ever results following local elections which delivered a bloody nose to Britain's ruling coalition. AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigel Farage has been branded a "Neanderthal" for claiming that women who take time off work to have children are "worth less" to employers than their male colleagues.

The Ukip leader said that women do as well "if not better" than men in the City of London if they are "prepared to sacrifice the family life and stick with their careers". He also claimed there was not "any discrimination against women at all" in the City of London and that women often chose to pause their careers for "biological reasons".

Treasury minister Nicky Morgan accused Farage of offering a "defeatist and pathetic" analysis of the situation, adding: "I think Nigel Farage's comments are disappointing because government and other bodies can send the message that flexibility [working hours] has got to be the way forward, rather than saying 'oh that's just biology'."

Labour MEP Mary Honeyball told HuffPostUK: "Ukip have consistently undermined the situation of women in the workplace. Their Neanderthal opinions are frighteningly out of step with contemporary Britain and belie their real motives for opposing the European project as an effort to turn the clock back to a period where Britain was more insular politically, more unfair socially, and had an economy which was less accessible to women."

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Kate Grussing, managing director of executive search firm Sapphire Partners, said Farage's views were "like that of a dinosaur who hasn’t paid attention to the data and met many senior businesswomen in the last decade.”

Speaking to the Financial Times, she added: “Would you question men who had children for their commitment?”

The latest furore comes after Farage was believed to have been hit over the head on Monday with a placard by an angry protester as he made his way into a hotel to meet supporters.

Footage from ITV Meridian showed the South East MEP being pushed and shoved by a group of people waving placards outside the Walpole Bay Hotel in Cliftonville, Margate, Kent.

Following the incident, Farage told the regional news channel that he hoped it would not become a regular occurrence.

He said: "It happened in Edinburgh last year and it happened here.

"This was actually worse than Edinburgh, because in Edinburgh they came along to make a noise.

"Here they came to bar me from actually physically entering this hotel, and with the intent to physically hurt me, so that's not very nice; don't like it, but that's not going to stop me."