Women often lack the ambition to achieve senior positions because their desire for a baby “gets in the way”, a Ukip MEP has suggested.

Stuart Agnew dismissed the impact of gender bias in education and the workplace, insisting the mothering instinct was what really held women back in their careers.

The comments, made during a debate in the European Parliament, could prove embarrassing for Ukip.

Another MEP, Godfrey Bloom, was recently stripped of the party whip after joking that women who did not clean behind the fridge were “sluts”.

Agnew said he believed there was “absolute gender balance in the education system”.

“If you look at the people who get degrees, more women get them and they are getting the jobs in the workplace, 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,” he said.

“I’ve never had a baby. But I understand if you do have a baby it can change your life — it changes your ambitions. Those females who really want to get to the top do so.”

A Ukip spokeswoman said: “This is not the view of the party and there are many choices women can make in their lives. Only women can have babies, but anyone can choose to be successful in life.”


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