Priti Patel employs ex-Ukip aide who argued women shouldn’t be frontline police

Home Secretary Priti Patel employs a former Ukip candidate who argued women shouldn't be frontline police and soldiers, the Mirror can reveal.

Stuart Gulleford has been given a Parliamentary Pass as part of his role in Ms Patel’s constituency team.

His comments have been branded “regressive," "outdated” and "totally unacceptable".

Mr Gulleford stood for Ukip as a candidate in the 2005 General Election and a council candidate for the party in 2015.

He also worked as a regional press officer for Ukip until 2014, and as a political advisor to Stuart Agnew, then Ukip’s MEP for the East of England.

In a 2017 column for the website Ukip Daily, he questioned whether it was right to consider female police officers and forces personnel "exactly the same as men" and whether they should be "sent into the front lines at riots and in war zones."

He also raised concerns about the cost of servicewomen becoming pregnant, and said women were at risk from "hundreds of thousands" of men coming to the UK from countries where women are treated "like posessions".

As Home Secretary, Ms Patel is the most senior member of the government responsible for police and immigration policy.

"I would argue that an injury to woman’s face, particularly if it is permanent, is infinitely more devastating than it is to a man getting the same injury,” he wrote in the article, entitled Political Correctness – the New Extremism?

“Do we really think, as a society, that this inhumanity towards women is right?  That we should eradicate all the many ways that women and men are different?”

“Furthermore,” he added, “do we honestly believe that a female POW captured in a battle is only as vulnerable as a male colleague captured at the same time?"

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In 2018, Mr Gulleford also publicly criticised Brandon Lewis, a former Home Office minister who was promoted to Northern Ireland Secretary in Boris Johnson's reshuffle.

He wrote on Twitter: "I am deeply unimpressed with the promotion of Brandon Lewis.

“I tangled with him when he was Leader of Brentwood Borough Council and the mess he left it in after he moved on was inexcusable. He couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery never mind run the Conservative Party!"

Mr Gulleford also runs a freelance PR consultancy firm, which he says he is not required to declare on the Register of interests for Members' Researchers and Staff.

Approached for comment, Mr Gulleford said: “My present employment has nothing to do with my previous employment.

“I am currently employed by Priti Patel MP on a part time basis to look after constituency appointments and any other work I do in my own time is fully in line with [Parliamentary expenses watchdog] IPSA rules.”

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Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperon Christine Jardine said: "The regressive, outdated views publicly shared by Gulleford should have automatically ruled him out of a role.

"His comments about women police officers are totally unacceptable and beg the question as to why Patel would think he was a reasonable appointment.

"This Conservative government must stop their retrograde approach to the appointment of Advisers and other key staff. From eugenics to misogyny, those with these views should have no place in British politics."

Elsewhere in his article, Mr Gulleford wrote with concern about claims that 100 servicewomen had to be evacuated from Iraq because they were pregnant.

“One can only wonder at the expense in carrying out these evacuations and finding replacements, never mind the cost of the training that went into preparing the personnel who became pregnant on active service, for their missions. 

“A pregnant soldier, sailor or aircrew is a major loss to any unit and particularly so in these times of budget cuts, which have so weakened our armed forces.”

And he wrote of his concerns for the “safety” of women as “the PC agenda continues to hold sway on immigration policy”.

“Hundreds of thousands of men are allowed into the country who have completely different values and are from societies where women are viewed as little more than possessions,” he wrote. 

“One wonders why the gender balance of these new arrivals, in which men vastly out-number women, is never questioned by the PC brigade.”

He added: “Naturally, anyone who does raise concern about immigration is automatically labelled as ‘racist’.”

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