Polish prosecutors are investigating whether comments made by a right-wing politician elected this week to the European Parliament warrant prosecution for incitement to rape.

The investigation centres on remarks made during a live television debate this month by Janusz Korwin-Mikke.

Mr Korwin-Mikke is the leader of the New Right party which won a surprise 7.2% of votes in the European elections.

During a discussion about what constitutes rape, he asked:"Raped, what does it mean raped?"

"Women are always pretending that they are showing some resistance and this is normal. One has to know when one can and when one can't," Mr Korwin-Mikke said.

A spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Warsaw said it had launched an investigation to check whether Mr Korwin-Mikke should be prosecuted for public incitement to commit a rape, a crime punishable by between two and 12 years in jail.

Reuters sent an email to Mr Korwin-Mikke's party asking for comment, but there was no immediate reply.

Mr Korwin-Mikke has said previously that women should not be allowed to vote and that the European Union should be stripped of political powers.

He has also said his party will turn the European Parliament into a "brothel" and accused Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Commission, of being a "disguised Maoist."

Mr Korwin-Mikke's party picked up support from people fed up with mainstream parties, in line with a trend across Europe.

In the European election, the party out-performed its Polish rivals among voters aged between 18 and 25, according to an exit poll by Ipsos.