Nigel Farage has said new mothers should expect to possibly fall behind in their careers – because it is "a fact of life".
Appearing on ITV's daytime panel show Loose Women, the controversial Ukip leader said that women are often "disadvantaged" when they return to the workplace after having a baby.
"If you're a doctor, a lawyer, a researcher, you're a woman, you have a baby, you take six months or a year off, you come back. You are not disadvantaged at all in that job," he said.
"But there are other jobs in which if you take six months off and come back you actually find yourself behind the rest of the pack and earning less money. Now that is a fact of life. It's difficult to change that."
He added that things were beginning to change as more men opt to be stay-at-home fathers – but he quipped that he would have been "absolutely useless" in the role himself.
Indeed, Farage admitted that his own family life has suffered as a result of his unrelenting pursuit of his career, explaining that he gets up at 5am and is "rarely home before midnight".
"You cannot conduct any sense of family life and do politics," he said. Farage candidly added that those in politics have to be "selfish".
During the course of the interview he also criticised Prime Minister David Cameron for deciding to only appear in one TV debate – featuring seven parties - ahead of 7 May. The Prime Minister has also been accused by Labour leader Ed Miliband of "running scared".
"I suspect had it been a four-headed debate, there were one or two conversations I wanted to have with the Prime Minster that I don’t think he would have been able to answer," Farage said.
"And I suspect that’s why they've sabotaged them."
Farage said one of these topics would have been immigration. Recent figures released by the ONS showed that net immigration to the UK rose to 298,000 in the last 12 months to September - up from 210,000 in the previous year. The figure is three times as high as pledged by Cameron at the 2010 election.
Farage has pledged to introduce a five-year ban on immigration and an Australian-style points based system if Ukip gets into power. He has said Ukip has ruled out imposing "arbitrary targets" for immigration, despite the party previously calling for net migration to be capped at 50,000.
Farage said that he would ideally like immigration to be "between 20,000 and 50,000" and for those who come to the UK not to be a "burden" on the country.
The panel suggested that Farage was in an "easier" position than the other party leaders, in that he doesn't "physically have to do anything about" his proposed policies.
Farage replied: "What I want to do is radically change polticis."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies