Farage says breastfeeding comments were 'wildly misrepresented'

Nigel Farage has told ITV Wales his comments on breastfeeding mothers were "wildly misrepresented".

The Ukip leader stressed that he was not against breastfeeding, but that he respects the rights of private businesses towards their customers.

It comes as mothers are set to stage a "Free to Feed" protest at Claridge's after the hotel asked a new mother to cover up as she breastfed.

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Farage 'misquoted' on breastfeeding mothers

Nigel Farage has told ITV Wales he was "deliberately misquoted" on his comment regarding breastfeeding mothers.

The Ukip leader said he was asked whether women should be sent to the ladies toilets to breastfeed in light of a mother at Claridge's being asked to cover up as she breastfed in the hotel.

Farage said he had replied: "No, i thought that was horrendous. Perhaps they could be asked to sit at the side of the room."

It comes as mothers staged a "Free to Feed" protest at Claridge's today.

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Farage: Breastfeeding comments 'wildly misrepresented'

Nigel Farage has told ITV Wales his comments on breastfeeding mothers were "wildly misrepresented".

Ukip leader Nigel Farage speaks to ITV Wales Political Editor Adrian Masters. Credit: ITV Wales/Adrian Masters

The Ukip leader stressed that he was not against breastfeeding, but that he respects the rights of private businesses towards their customers.

Farage's suggestion that breastfeeding mothers should "perhaps sit in the corner" was met with widespread criticism yesterday.

Mums to hit back at Claridge's by staging 'breast-in'

Claridge's Hotel in central London. Credit: PA

Mums are set to stage a "Free to Feed" protest at Claridge's today after the hotel asked a new mother to cover up as she breastfed.

More than 150 women are due to turn up from 2pm to demand an apology.

It comes after Ukip leader Nigel Farage appeared to agree with Claridge's policy by saying breastfeeding mothers should "sit in a corner".

Free to Feed founder Emily Slough told ITV News: "Claridge's don't get to choose what is and what isn't discreet.

"It's up to the breastfeeding mother and if she feels comfortable breastfeeding at a table, it's okay to do that."

The backlash comes Claridge's staff asked mother Lou Burns to use a large napkin while breastfeeding so as not "caused offence" to other customers.

Claridge's said it "embraces" breastfeeding, but requests that women are "discreet towards other guests".

ITV's Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship has this report:

Nigel Farage hits back over breastfeeding comments

Nigel Farage made the comments on an LBC phone-in. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Nigel Farage has responded to criticism over his comments on breastfeeding, insisting he does not "personally endorse" making mothers conceal themselves to avoid upsetting others.

The Ukip leader stressed that individual establishments, such as London hotel Claridges, should be free to impose whatever rules they like regarding breastfeeding.

He added that most mothers recognised it was right to be "discreet" and that it was "just a question of good manners".

What I said was... and it is immensely frustrating that I have to explain this... is that if the establishment in question, in this case Claridges, wants to maintain rules about this stuff, then that is up to them, as it should be. I remarked that perhaps they might ask women to sit in a corner. Did I say I believe they should have to? No. Did I say I personally endorse this concept? No.

We do however have to recognise that businesses have a responsibility to all of their customers, some of whom may well be made uncomfortable by public breastfeeding.

It’s a two-way street: breastfeeding women should never be embarrassed by staff asking them to stop, and most mums will recognise the need to be discreet in certain, limited, circumstances. It just a question of good manners, and in this case, accurate journalism.

– Nigel Farage.

PM: 'Totally unacceptable' to make mums uncomfortable

David Cameron believes it is "totally unacceptable" to make mothers feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding their babies in public, Downing St has said.

The remarks came after Ukip leader Nigel Farage said mothers should "perhaps sit in the corner" to avoid disturbing people around them.

At a regular Westminster briefing, the Prime Minister's spokesman said:

I think it's for Mr Farage to explain his views. The Prime Minister shares the view of the NHS which is that breastfeeding is completely natural and it is totally unacceptable for any woman to be made to feel uncomfortable when breastfeeding in public.

– Prime Minister's Spokesman

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Mumsnet chief: Breastfeeding problem is 'bemusing'

The chief executive of popular website Mumsnet has weighed into the debate over breastfeeding, saying people who have a problem with mums feeding should "get over themselves".

She spoke out after Ukip leader Nigel Farage said mothers should "perhaps sit in the corner" to avoid disturbing people around them who might feel "uncomfortable".

It's bemusing that some people have a problem seeing mums breastfeeding. It is of course a natural, essential human process and those with an issue simply need to get over themselves - babies need to be fed when they're hungry, and there's nothing ostentatious about a mother responding to that need."

– Justine Roberts, Mumsnet Chief Executive
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