A Conservative MP is facing criticism after telling an event at the party conference that unemployed people should get on their bikes and work on a farm with "gorgeous EU women". Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet, made the comments on Sunday (1 October) at the Manchester conference.
"I was struggling to think why wouldn't a youngster from Glasgow without a job come down to the south to work for a farm for the summer with loads of gorgeous EU women working there?" Business Inside quoted Mackinlay as saying, "What's not to like? Get on your bike and find a job."
MacKinlay was saying that British people should have an attitude to moving for work that he suggested was found more commonly elsewhere. "We need to mobilise our core of unemployed to say there is a job there for me, let's go and get it just as the very well motivated Bucharest youngster gets a coach across Europe to find a job."
IBTimes UK reached out to Mackinlay's office but they were unable to comment. An email to Mackinlay was unanswered at the time of publication. According to the BBC, Mackinlay said his remarks were "flippant" and had been taken out of context.
The comments were called "ignorant" by Lib Dem MP, Christine Jardine, and "patronising" by Labour's Seema Malhotra MP. Both said the remarks were "misogynist".
"Rather than making dismissive and offensive remarks, the Conservatives should be investing in training to get more British young people into work," Jardine said. "Maybe Mr Mackinlay should follow his own advice and start picking fruit rather than picking fights."
Malhotra said: "It is attitudes like this that do not belong in a modern, diverse and tolerant society that the UK is. I hope that he will retract this statement and show far more respect to workers and to young people."
Mackinlay beat Ukip's Nigel Farage to win his South Thanet seat in the 2015 election but accusations about the Conservative's election expenditure arose. Mackinlay now faces trial in early 2018 accused of offences under the Representation of the People Act 1983.