A Ukip treasurer has been accused of sexism after suggesting women should not be given a seat on a board because of their inferior chess, bridge and poker skills.
Stuart Wheeler, a former Conservative donor, put his party at the centre of fresh controversy after saying females came ‘absolutely nowhere’ when they competed in games where men had no physical advantage.
The 78-year-old made the comments during a debate about whether quotas should be implemented to force firms to appoint more women.
He said: ‘I would just like to challenge the idea that it is necessary to have a lot of women on a board.
‘Business is very, very competitive and you should take the performance of women in another competitive area, which is sport, where men have no strength advantage.
‘Chess, bridge, poker – women come absolutely nowhere. I think that just has to be borne in mind.’
Earlier this year a report found women held just 17 per cent of board positions at FTSE-100 companies.
Mr Wheeler’s remarks provoked anger.
He was challenged at the event by Clare Gerada, who chairs the Royal College of GPs. She said it was a ‘disingenuous, sexist comment’ and pointed out her mother was a bridge champion.
Author Lynn Shepherd tweeted: ‘So if Stuart Wheeler goes for emergency surgery will he refuse a female doctor because “men are better at that sort of thing” *blows top*.’
Mr Wheeler, who has three daughters, including the model Jacquetta Wheeler, rejected the comments he made on Wednesday night were sexist.
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