Mothers are worth less to City firms than men, Ukip leader Nigel Farage said yesterday – but women prepared to sacrifice family life can do as well as male colleagues, if not better.
Mr Farage, who worked in a brokerage firm for nearly 20 years, told an audience in the City of London that he believed women make “different choices” to men for “biological reasons”.
He said he believes there is no discrimination against women in the City but his own experience had shown that brokers are “as valuable as the client base that sticks with you and will move with you”.
“In many, many cases, women make different choices in life to the ones that men make simply for biological reasons,” he said.
“If a woman has a client base and has a child and takes two or three years off work, she is worth far less to the employer when she comes back than when she goes away because her client base cannot be stuck rigidly to her.”
He added that when he first started work in the City, it was a “deeply sexist” place.
“I don’t believe that in the big banks and brokerage houses and Lloyds of London and everyone else in the City, I do not believe there is any discrimination against women at all.
“I think that young, able women who are prepared to sacrifice the family life and stick with their careers do as well, if not better, than men.”
Mr Farage also accused the media of unfairly highlighting the views of a Ukip councillor about the floods and gay marriage.
He initially joked about the “incredibly damaging” effect when “defectors” from the Conservative Party join Ukip and say “appalling and outrageous things” before going on to claim that the views of Henley-on-Thames councillor David Silvester had not been a “news story” until he joined Ukip from the Tories.
“I think it is very interesting that, when Mr Silvester was saying these things in 2012 and 2013 as a Conservative town councillor in Henley, it was not a news story,” Mr Farage said. “But suddenly he switches to Ukip and continues the same thing and gets on the national news.”
Mr Silvester has been suspended by the party after he wrote to a local newspaper saying the country had been “beset by storms” since the passage of the new law on gay marriage because David Cameron had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel”.