Polish MEP suspended without pay for saying women should be paid less because they are 'weaker and less intelligent'

European Parliament says sanctions 'unprecedented in severity'

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The European Parliament has suspended a Polish politician for 10 days after he said during a debate that women should earn less than men because they are “weaker, smaller and less intelligent”.

Janusz Korwin-Mikke will be suspended from parliamentary activities for 10 days, forfeit politicians' daily subsistence allowance for 30 days and be banned from representing the legislature for a year, parliament president Antonio Tajani said.

During a 1 March debate on the gender pay gap, Mr Korwin-Mikke, a radical right-winger who leads a marginal party, said: “Of course women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent.”

Mr Tajani said he “will not tolerate such behaviour” and added that “by offending all women, [Mr Korwin-Mikke] displayed contempt for our most fundamental values”.

In footage of the original remark, Spanish socialist MEP Iratxe Garcia Perez can be seen grimacing at Mr Korwin-Mikke’s claim that there are no women among the world's top 100 chess players.

She responded: “According to what you're saying and your theory I wouldn't have the right to be here as a member of parliament.

“I know you're very upset and very concerned about the fact we women can represent citizens on an equal footing with you.

“I think I need to defend European women against men like you.”

The European Parliament characterised the sanctions against Mr Korwin-Mikke as being “unprecedented in severity.” 

Mr Korwin-Mikke, 74, the creator of the Coalition for the Renewal of the Republic – Liberty and Hope, was interviewed on ITV's Good Morning Britain by Piers Morgan.

Defending his words, he said: “By the way, a shorter man earns less than a tall man. The blonde earns more than a brunette. They are different, and it should not be equalised.

“Of course they are less intelligent by several points on the IQ scale. There is no doubt on that.”

Additional reporting by agencies

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