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MPs vote to abandon badger culls

MPs have overwhelmingly backed a motion calling on the Government to abandon controversial badger culls in England in favour of vaccinating the animals.

Division list analysis showed 220 MPs voted in support of a motion tabled by Conservative Anne Main, MP for St Albans, compared with just one MP - Tory Philip Hollobone - who voted against.

The vote announced by the tellers in the House was 219 aye votes but the written record showed the extra aye.

Among the aye votes were 18 Conservative MPs and seven Liberal Democrats.

The result of the backbench business vote, which is not binding, is a blow for ministers, who have claimed the culls are a vital part of a strategy to reduce the risk of bovine TB.

Winding up the debate, environment minister George Eustice defended culls as part of a broader strategy.

He told MPs: "The Government has been clear we need to pursue a range of options in order to roll back this disease.

"We are clear no one measure on its own will work.

"There is one area where clearly we take a different view to Labour - our view is there is nowhere, anywhere in the world, that has managed to successfully tackle TB without also dealing with the reservoir of the disease in the wildlife population."

Labour MPs forced MPs to file through the lobbies after calling both "aye" and "no" when the motion was called to a vote.

At the start of the debate, Ms Main warned that ministers risked "contributing to an increase in TB in cattle" by pushing ahead with further culls, saying they were never given a "carte blanche to carry on regardless".

And she told MPs: " This House wants a chance to vote on this issue and I have made repeated calls for it to be brought back before the House.

"This is not an easy subject with feelings running high on both sides."

Ms Main insisted that people opposed to the culls were sympathetic to the plight of farmers, but that many members who initially backed the Government's strategy had resolved to withdraw their support when it became clear they had failed to have the desired effect.

"There is great sympathy with farmers who have experienced heartache and hardship over losing cattle and precious stock to bovine TB," she said.

"But there's also regard as to how we, as a society, treat all animals, particularly a protected species.

"And these tensions divide the House.

"And I believe many lent their support to the concept of trying to tackle bovine TB with this strategy, but they did not give the Government permission to carry on regardless: regardless of humaneness, regardless of effectiveness and regardless of costs."

Pilot culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset were due to run for six weeks, with the aim of killing 70% of badgers in each area.

But both schemes were extended after initial figures suggested 58% of badgers were eradicated in Somerset and 30% in Gloucestershire.

Conservative Anne McIntosh, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said Bovine TB was costing taxpayers £500 million a year, which could increase to £1 billion in the next decade.

She said badgers were rightly given protection in the 1970s as the population was in decline.

She continued: "But now when we see the extent to which the badger population has grown and the implications for the spread of Bovine TB that is very serious indeed."

After the vote, Mr Eustice said he expected future debates on the issue.

But he told MPs he would not confirm if they would vote on the Government's future approach to badgers.

Raising a point of order, shadow environment minister Huw Irranca-Davies asked if a full debate and a vote in Government time would take place before existing culls continued or new ones began.

He said: "Today, Parliament has expressed a very clear view that mass culling of badgers is not appropriate as part of a (bovine tuberculosis) eradication strategy.

"Today, also, I learnt from a response to my named day written question that (Environment Secretary Owen Paterson) has now received and is now considering the delayed independent expert report, which will likely condemn the culls as ineffective and inhumane.

"Could I therefore ask (Mr Eustice) to confirm that a full debate and a vote in Government time will now take place before any decision to proceed with existing or any new culls takes place?"

Mr Eustice, urged by Labour MPs to go to the Despatch Box, replied to Mr Irranca-Davies: "You've had an issue with the fact that we have indeed received the report, we are considering it.

"It was not our decision when the report was delivered to us, it was an independent expert panel - they decided that.

"It was not our decision nor our reason to get involved on the decision of the Backbench Business Committee to have this debate at this timing today.

"And nor is it the role of the (Labour Party) to dictate when the Government should publish that report.

"Let me be very clear, we've always been clear we will publish that report... we've not made any decisions yet, when we've made a decision - no, I'm not going to confirm there will be a vote.

"I've discussed and debated this many times and I'm sure we will have many opportunities to do again in the future."

Shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle, raising a point of order, said: "This is now the second time that this House has debated this issue on a backbench motion with overwhelming votes to stop the cull.

"What good is having debates in Parliament if the Government is now wilfully staying out of the lobbies, not involving itself in voting for the policy it's actually pursuing in the country, and is taking no notice whatsoever of votes of this House?

"Isn't this making this House an irrelevance?"

Tory Miss McIntosh, raising a point of order, said: "I do regret what record may prove was a vote on very erroneous grounds indeed."

Division list analysis showed 18 Conservative MPs voted in favour of the motion.

They were: David Amess (Southend West), Andrew Bingham (High Peak), Bob Blackman (Harrow East), Peter Bottomley (Worthing West), Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase), Tracey Crouch (Chatham & Aylesford), Philip Davies (Shipley), Richard Fuller (Bedford), Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park), Charles Hendry (Wealden), Anne Main (St Albans), Andrew Percy (Brigg & Goole), John Randall (Uxbridge & Ruislip South), Mark Reckless (Rochester & Strood), Henry Smith (Crawley), Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight), Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) and Mike Weatherley (Hove).

Seven Liberal Democrat MPs also voted aye.

They were: Paul Burstow (Sutton & Cheam), Andrew George (St Ives), John Hemming (Birmingham Yardley), Martin Horwood (Cheltenham), Julian Huppert (Cambridge), Adrian Sanders (Torbay) and Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove).

The motion was endorsed by 194 Labour MPs.

They were: Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington), Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East & Saddleworth), Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East), Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East), Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green & Bow), Graham Allen (Nottingham North), Mr Jon Ashworth (Leicester South), Ian Austin (Dudley North), Ed Balls (Morley & Outwood), Gordon Banks (Ochil & Perthshire South), Kevin Barron (Rother Valley), Hugh Bayley (York Central), Dame Margaret Beckett (Derby South), Dame Anne Begg (Aberdeen South), Hilary Benn (Leeds Central), Clive Betts (Sheffield South East), Hazel Blears (Salford & Eccles), Ben Bradshaw (Exeter), Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West), Lyn Brown (West Ham), Nicholas Brown (Newcastle upon Tyne East), Russell Brown (Dumfries & Galloway), Chris Bryant (Rhondda), Karen Buck (Westminster North), Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield), Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley), Martin Caton (Gower), Sarah Champion (Rotherham), Katy Clark (Ayrshire North & Arran), Tom Clarke (Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill), Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley), Vernon Coaker (Gedling), Michael Connarty (Linlithgow & Falkirk East), Rosie Cooper (Lancashire West), Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), David Crausby (Bolton North East), Mary Creagh (Wakefield), Stella Creasy (Walthamstow), Jon Cruddas (Dagenham & Rainham), John Cryer (Leyton & Wanstead), Alex Cunningham (Stockton North), Jim Cunningham (Coventry South), Tony Cunningham (Workington), Margaret Curran (Glasgow East), Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe), Simon Danczuk (Rochdale), Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West), Gloria De Piero (Ashfield), John Denham (Southampton Itchen), Frank Dobson (Holborn & St Pancras), Brian Donohoe (Ayrshire Central), Frank Doran (Aberdeen North), Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South & Penarth), Jim Dowd (Lewisham West & Penge), Jack Dromey (Birmingham Erdington), Michael Dugher (Barnsley East), Angela Eagle (Wallasey), Maria Eagle (Garston & Halewood), Clive Efford (Eltham), Julie Elliott (Sunderland Central), Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside), Natascha Engel (Derbyshire North East), Bill Esterson (Sefton Central), Chris Evans (Islwyn), Frank Field (Birkenhead), Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar & Limehouse), Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South), Caroline Flint (Don Valley), Paul Flynn (Newport West), Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield), Mike Gapes (Ilford South), Barry Gardiner (Brent North), Sheila Gilmore (Edinburgh East), Pat Glass (Durham North West), Mary Glindon (Tyneside North), Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Hall Green), Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland), Tom Greatrex (Rutherglen & Hamilton West), Kate Green (Stretford & Urmston), Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South), Nia Griffith (Llanelli), Andrew Gwynne (Denton & Reddish), Peter Hain (Neath), David Hanson (Delyn), Harriet Harman (Camberwell & Peckham), Dai Havard (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney), John Healey (Wentworth & Dearne), Mark Hendrick (Preston), David Heyes (Ashton Under Lyne), Meg Hillier (Hackney South & Shoreditch), Julie Hilling (Bolton West), Margaret Hodge (Barking), Jim Hood (Lanark & Hamilton East), Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North), George Howarth (Knowsley), Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore), Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarnock & Loudoun), Major Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central), Alan Johnson (Hull West & Hessle), Diana Johnson (Hull North), Helen Jones (Warrington North), Kevan Jones (Durham North), Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South), Dame Tessa Jowell (Dulwich & West Norwood), Mike Kane (Wythenshawe and Sale East), Sir Gerald Kaufman (Manchester Gorton), Elizabeth Kendall (Leicester West), Sadiq Khan (Tooting), David Lammy (Tottenham), Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North & Leith), Christopher Leslie (Nottingham East), Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields), Andy Love (Edmonton), Ian Lucas (Wrexham), Steve McCabe (Birmingham Selly Oak), Michael McCann (East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow), Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East), Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham & Morden), Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough), John McDonnell (Hayes & Harlington), Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East), Jim McGovern (Dundee West), Anne McGuire (Stirling), Iain McKenzie (Inverclyde), Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North), Fiona Mactaggart (Slough), Shabana Mahmood (Birmingham Ladywood), Seema Malhotra (Feltham & Heston), Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South), Michael Meacher (Oldham West & Royton), Alan Meale (Mansfield), Ed Miliband (Doncaster North), Madeleine Moon (Bridgend), Jessica Morden (Newport East), Graeme Morrice (Livingston), Grahame Morris (Easington), Meg Munn (Sheffield Heeley), Ian Murray (Edinburgh South), Lisa Nandy (Wigan), Pamela Nash (Airdrie & Shotts), Fiona O'Donnell (East Lothian), Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central), Sandra Osborne (Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock), Albert Owen (Ynys Mon), Teresa Pearce (Erith & Thamesmead), Toby Perkins (Chesterfield), Bridget Phillipson (Houghton & Sunderland South), Stephen Pound (Ealing North), Nick Raynsford (Greenwich & Woolwich), Jamie Reed (Copeland), Steve Reed (Croydon North), Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge & Hyde), Linda Riordan (Halifax), John Robertson (Glasgow North West), Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West), Frank Roy (Motherwell & Wishaw), Lindsay Roy (Glenrothes), Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd), Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central), Andy Sawford (Corby), Alison Seabeck (Plymouth Moor View), Virendra Sharma (Ealing Southall), Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield), Gavin Shuker (Luton South), Dennis Skinner (Bolsover), Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith), Andrew Smith (Oxford East), Angela Smith (Penistone & Stocksbridge), Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent), John Spellar (Warley), Graham Stringer (Blackley & Broughton), Gisela Stuart (Birmingham Edgbaston), Mark Tami (Alyn & Deeside), Gareth Thomas (Harrow West), Emily Thornberry (Islington South & Finsbury), Stephen Timms (East Ham), Jon Trickett (Hemsworth), Karl Turner (Hull East), Derek Twigg (Halton), Stephen Twigg (Liverpool West Derby), Keith Vaz (Leicester East), Valerie Vaz (Walsall South), Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North), Tom Watson (West Bromwich East), Dave Watts (St Helens North), Chris Williamson (Derby North), Phil Wilson (Sedgefield), David Winnick (Walsall North), Rosie Winterton (Doncaster Central), John Woodcock (Barrow & Furness), David Wright (Telford) and Iain Wright (Hartlepool).

Green MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion) also backed the motion.


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