Is UKIP's Godfrey Bloom the most gaffe-prone MEP ever?
MEP who has quit UKIP after calling women activists "sluts" is expert in art of offensive remarks
GODFREY BLOOM, the North Yorkshire-based MEP who has quit UKIP after calling some of its female activists "sluts", has a gift for gaffes, says The Times's Hugo Rifkind. His talent emerged early when in 2004 - just six weeks after taking up his seat in the European parliament - he opined that no sane person would "ever employ a lady of child-bearing age". Here are five more of Godfrey's greatest gaffes.
"Big tits, very feisty", October 2004: Bloom's invitation to a group of female students to visit him in Brussels "backfired spectacularly", says The Independent, when one of them accused him of "sexual harassment, misogyny and use of offensive language". In a formal letter of protest to the president of the EU, Cambridge University student Rebecca Bowtell said the MEP used the phrase "big tits, very feisty" to describe a businesswoman he had invited to share a platform with him in Strasbourg.
Most prostitutes "do it because they want to", March 2006: In an article for the Brussels-based political magazine The Sprout, Bloom admitted to visiting brothels in Hong Kong when he was a businessman. He criticised the idea that many women are forced into prostitution, writing: "In short, most girls do it because they want to." Questioned about the article, he said: "If they [prostitutes] wanted a job as a Tesco check-out girl, they'd go do that instead."
Praising France for sinking the Rainbow Warrior, December 2009: Bloom was attending the Climate Change summit in Copenhagen when he stood in front of Greenpeace's famous ship, a replacement for the vessel destroyed by French agents in 1985. "Well done the French for sinking one of these things," he said on camera.
"Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer," November 2010: Bloom was ejected from the European parliament when he "parroted" the Nazi rallying cry to attack German social democrat Martin Schultz. MEPs were "appalled" by the incident, reports The Guardian, but Bloom was unrepentant, calling Schultz an "undemocratic fascist".
"Bongo Bongo Land", August 2013: The 63-year-old former army officer's most infamous foot-in-mouth incident came when he suggested Britain should not send aid to "Bongo Bongo Land". Bloom alleged the money was being used to buy items such as Ray-Ban sunglasses and luxury cars, while in Pakistan it was spent on jet fighters. Asked about the offensive phrase, Bloom said: "If I've offended anybody in Bongo Bongo Land I will write to their ambassador at the Court of St James." ·