UKIP leader Nigel Farage has waded into the public breastfeeding debate, suggesting businesses should be entitled to ask mothers to "perhaps sit in the corner" when feeding their babies.
Asked about the case of Louise Burns, who was recently asked to wear what she termed a "ridiculous shroud" while feeding her 12-week-old baby in Claridge's, the politician said it was right that the hotel should have "rules" and that women could breastfeed without being "openly ostentatious" - calling it "common sense".
While insisting he had no issue with it himself, he suggested businesses may take measures for the comfort of older generations, who could feel embarrassed.
Speaking on his regular LBC radio phone-in, the UKIP leader said: “I’m not particularly bothered about it, but I know a lot of people do feel very uncomfortable, and look, this is just a matter of common sense, isn’t it? I think that given that some people feel very embarrassed by it, it isn’t too difficult to breastfeed a baby in a way that’s not openly ostentatious.
“Frankly, that’s up to Claridge’s, and I very much take the view that if you’re running an establishment you should have rules.”
The 2010 Equality Act makes it unlawful for a business to discriminate against a breastfeeding woman.
Asked if breastfeeding women should be told to take their baby to the toilet, Nigel said: “Or perhaps sit in the corner, or whatever it might be – that’s up to Claridge’s. It’s not an issue that I get terribly hung-up about, but I know particularly people of the older generation feel awkward and embarrassed by it.”
Louise Burns has said she won't return to Claridge's following the incident, though a spokesperson insisted that the hotel "embraced" breastfeeding and only asked that "mothers are discreet towards other guests".
Campaign group Free to Feed is arranging a “nurse-in” outside the hotel at 2pm on Saturday in support of breastfeeding mothers.
Image: Rex Features
Do you think Nigel Farage is correct to say that businesses have a right to impose their own rules over mothers breastfeeding? Or do you think his comments were out of line? Have your say in the comments box below!