Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay has been accused of misogyny after saying young Brits should get on their bikes and take farm jobs where they can work with “loads of gorgeous EU women”.
The MP for South Thanet, said British youngsters needed to show the same motivation as European workers and help fill a Brexit-related shortfall in farm labourers.
Speaking at a fringe event of the Conservative conference, he said: "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?
"What's not to like? Get on your bike and find a job.”
The MP added: "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."
Opposition politicians branded Mackinlay’s comments “misogynist” and “offensive”, The Independent reported, but the Conservative MP defended himself, saying his comments were “flippant” but had been taken out of context.
Labour's Seema Malhotra urged Mr Mackinlay to take his comments back, saying they "misogynist and patronising".
"It is attitudes like this that do not belong in a modern, diverse and tolerant society that the UK is,” she said. “I hope that he will retract this statement and show far more respect to workers and to young people."
It is not the first time a Conservative politician has come under fire for suggesting British workers should take on the picking jobs that are currently done predominantly by EU migrants from Eastern Europe.
In October 2016 Andrea Leadsom was ridiculed when she said she hoped more young people would take up jobs in food production at the last Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.
Past attempts by recruiters to encourage British workers to join the industry have proven unsuccessful. Four years ago, Hops ran a welfare-to-work scheme with the Department for Work and Pensions that company director John Hardman said had “very limited success” and was “of massive cost to the UK taxpayer”.