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230118 | Cornwall MP George Eustice under fire for 'stay-at-home mums' gender comment

Cornwall MP George Eustice under fire for 'stay-at-home mums' gender comment

Mr Eustice's comments came on the back of the Budget announcement made by the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last week

A Cornwall MP has come under fire for a comment he made on how men and women are 'biologically wired differently' when it comes to looking after children. George Eustice, the MP for Camborne and Redruth and former Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, believes the Budget announcement made by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt will undermine stay-at-home motherhood.

As reported by the Guardian newspaper, the Conservative MP, who announced that he would not seek re-election at the next General Election, believes the Chancellor is focusing too much on encouraging mothers of young children back into employment and not enough on incentivising them to stay at home if they want to do so.

While he said that women’s “natural nurturing role” should be valued, it was a comment he made on men and women being "biologically wired" differently when it comes to caring for children which has drawn the ire of some.

Mr Eustice said we should respect the choice that women make and stop looking down on 'staying at home mothers'.

He said that he was focused on encouraging women to stay at home rather than men because of the unique bond mums have with young children. He told the Guardian: "Many women do want to spend those first few years with their child. It’s a short period in life where they can perform that natural nurturing role. We shouldn’t belittle it, we should value it. Motherhood and fatherhood are different and we should be honest about that.

“Fathers of course have a very strong paternal desire to spend time with their children but you can’t get away from the way we are biologically wired and the maternal instinct is a strong one."


His comments that men and women are “biologically wired” differently have been described as “outrageous” and based on outdated gender stereotypes.

Adrienne Burgess, chief executive at the Fatherhood Institute, said the Cornish MP's comments were completely out of date and insulting to modern Britain families where men take a greater role in looking after their children or are staying at home to look after them to allow mums to return to work if they want to.

She said: "Paternal instinct is no less powerful than ‘maternal’ when fathers’ caretaking is acknowledged and supported.”

Dr Anna Machin, one of the UK’s leading evolutionary anthropologists and author of The Life of Dad, also criticised Mr Eustice's comments, telling the national newspaper that men want to stay at home with their children as much as mothers and are just as good at it.

Mr Eustice's comments came on the back of last week's Budget announcement who told the commons that for too many women, having children ends their careers when they should be incentivised into going back to work.

Mr Eustice has been contacted for comment.

George Eustice told the Commons that overall the UK "gave away far too much for far too little in return".

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