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Craig Mackinlay criticised after alleged Tory conference comments urging UK men to work alongside 'gorgeous' women on farms

By Paul Francis

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay has sparked a row after suggesting young unemployed people should be prepared to "get on their bikes" and take a job on a farm working alongside "gorgeous EU women".

Craig Mackinlay reportedly made the remarks at a Tory Conference fringe meeting.

He allegedly said UK youngsters needed to show the same motivation as low-skilled workers from elsewhere in Europe.

Craig Mackinlay
Craig Mackinlay

“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?", he said.

"What's not to like? Get on your bike and find a job.

"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."

The MP has since said his remarks were misquoted.

Was Mr Mackinlay chanelling his inner Boris?
Was Mr Mackinlay chanelling his inner Boris?

His comments have echoes of those made by the veteran Conservative Norman Tebbit, who famously urged young unemployed people to get on their bikes to find work in the 1980s.

Labour Thanet county councillor Karen Constantine said: "His remarks are sexist and a complete over-simplification of the labour market when we have people on zero hour contracts and the gig economy that are blighting lives.

"Perhaps he should spend some time with young people who are struggling to find work.

"Even if you do get a job on a fruit farm it is not the kind of work that is going to put a roof over your head."

Mr Mackinlay has been approached for a comment.

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