19 OCT 2010
Euro-MPs intending to vote on Wednesday to increase maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay have been slammed for "ludicrous interference" in bosses' freedom to employ women.
UK Independence Party MEP Godfrey Bloom said the European Parliament was full of people with little commercial experience who were on the brink of making it almost impossible for small firms to take on young female staff.
He was speaking in a debate in Strasbourg on Monday night ahead of Wednesday's controversial vote for maternity leave changes which a report says would cost the Treasury an extra £2.5 billion a year.
As a new MEP in 2004, Mr Bloom caused uproar on his first day by stating that "no self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age" - a dig at EU gender equality rules.
On Monday night he told the Parliament he had been proved right and that the situation was getting worse.
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