Ukip are the first party to promise to scrap a tax on women's sanitary products, otherwise known as the "Tampon tax".

The policy is one of a range of measures announced by the party's head of policy, Suzanne Evans, today in a bid to win over female voters.

The proposal would abolish the 5% levied on women's sanitary products, which are categorised as "non-essential, luxury" items by the Treasury.

Evans argued that the tax is an "outdated and outrageous" levy on women and, under EU rules, Westminster cannot scrap the tax unless the UK split from Brussels.

"No other party can pledge to take this simple step, as under EU rules no item that has ever had VAT charged on it can have VAT removed completely," she said.

"This shows not only how ridiculous EU legislation is, but how very wrong it is that we've given our tax sovereignty over to a bunch of faceless – and mostly male – EU Commissioners who simply don't understand real life, let alone real life for women."

"The rules are so daft, that you can go for a swim without paying any VAT, but you'll be charged for it on the tampon you need to wear in order to go for a swim. It's plain stupid."

An online petition started by campaigner Laura Coryton, calling for the tax to be scrapped, has garnered more than 217,000 signatures.

"Tax allocations should expose the needs of society as a whole, and the needs of those who menstruate as well as those who don't. Because we care about these people, this campaign was made in support of tax allocations representing them and reflecting something that is vital," Coryton wrote.

Evans spoke to IBTimes UK late last year and admitted that Ukip had shied away from women's issues.

"We have shied away from specifically looking at women's issues and women's policies because we have this fundamental principle that everybody should be treated equally," Evans said.

"It amazes me because we do have this actual focus on equality, but, because it's not the sort of politically correct tick-box type of equality, we seem to be penalised for it. It completely baffles me."

The remark came after a November poll from Survation showed that only 18.7% of female respondents would vote for the Euroscepitc party, compared with 29.4% of men.