Women spies should stick to changing nappies says Ukip MEP

Women considering joining the intelligence services should stick to changing nappies, a Ukip MEP suggested today.

Responding to calls for security services to use online forums like Mumsnet to recruit more female spies, Ukip's Janice Atkinson claimed the role simply doesn't come naturally to women.

"What do we want from our security services – James Bond or Mary Poppins?" Atkinson said in a statement today.

"Besides, there are just some things that come more naturally to men and to women. Even James Bond has yet to be recorded changing a nappy at 3am on a work night."

Atkinson's comments followed a report today by the Commons' Intelligence and Security Committee, which claimed that women are under utilised by the security services.

According to the report, women make up just 37% of employees in the intelligence agencies, compared to 53% in the civil service.

"Women or mothers in middle-age or mid-career, who may have taken some years out to bring up children, may offer an untapped recruitment pool," the report claimed.

"The Agencies should use a broad range of mediums to advertise, including those specifically for women and mothers such as Mumsnet."

The report claimed the lack of women was hampering the work of intelligence services.

"If you look like me, then you can't operate in the operational areas that we need to operate in," a former director general of MI5 told the committee.

"So we are making progress on [recruiting black and minority ethnic and female black and minority ethnic staff], but it takes time for that to filter through the sort of hierarchy at the service."