Britain's ceramics industry will need close care and attention during Brexit to prevent a flood of cheap crockery being dumped by China, a leading MEP is warning.

Anthea McIntyre made the rallying call for British ceramics following a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, which examined threats facing the industry.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands region which includes Stoke on Trent and The Potteries, said: "My region is standard-bearer for quality in crockery, tableware and industrial ceramics. In a fair marketplace we can compete on a global scale - but unless we have protection against dumping from the Far East, we will be hard hit and jobs will be lost.

"We have had protection from dumping because of World Trade Organisation rules and European Union anti-dumping legislation, but those things are all in flux."

She backed calls by the British Ceramics Confederation for a programme of measures including adoption of all anti-subsidy, anti-dumping and safeguarding measures allowed under WTO rules, and promotion of a genuine global free trade environment.

Miss McIntyre said: "China would be very happy selling us cheap dinner services for less than they cost to make. They are not operating in a free market.

"Britain and the West Midlands are synonymous with excellence in ceramics. We must not let Brexit give our competitors the opportunity to undermine us unfairly."


West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre has welcomed Government backing for Birmingham's bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

She spoke of her "pride and joy" after Culture Secretary Karen  Bradley announced that Birmingham would be the UK's official candidate city.

Miss McIntyre said: "As a Conservative I am delighted our Government has thrown its full weight behind the Birmingham bid. It fills me with pride in our region and joy at the prospect of bringing this huge event to our own back yard.

"This would be the most spectacular sports gathering the country has seen since London 2012. Not only would it be a great sporting party but it can have a transformational effect on large parts of the conurbation.

"Now we must pull out all the stops to make sure we have the best bid of all the candidate cities."

Anthea McIntyre MEP has welcomed plans from the EU Commission for the immediate creation of a task force improve EU legislation.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, has been a consistent campaigner against red tape and over-zealous regulation. She said: "This task force looks like a major step forwarding in making sure decisions get taken at the right level and that the EU only intervenes where it brings true benefit.

"I will do all I can to help it in its work."

She was responding to a section of Jean Claude Juncker's "State of the Union" speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg in which he said the Commission would continue be "big on big issues and small on the small ones."

He said the current commission was putting forward fewer than 25 initiatives a year where previous Commissions had proposed more than 100, and added: "To finish the work we started, I am setting up a Subsidiarity and Proportionality Task Force as of this month to take a very critical look at all policy areas to make sure we are only acting where the EU adds value.

"First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who has a proven track record on better regulation, will head this Task Force. The Timmermans Task Force, which should include Members of this Parliament as well as Members of national Parliaments, should report back in a years' time."

As chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group's Better Regulation Working Party and Conservative Employment spokesman, Miss McIntyre has brought forward a series of reports highlighting the need for regulation to be proportionate, based on proper evidence and practical in the real world.

She said: "I shall be very pleased to feed these recommendations through to Mr Timmermans, who is certainly a man we can do business with.

"I am pleased he will be inviting participation from national parliamentarians as well as MEPs. Britain may be leaving the EU but we have every reason to want to see the EU run well and we will make what contributions we can."

West Midlands Together, the cross-party campaign group promoting tolerance and harmony after the Brexit vote, is to stage a youth conference on hate crime.

It will be held on February 2 in the Greater Birmingham area and the group will be approaching schools across the West Midlands in coming weeks to invite the involvement of their sixth formers.

There will also be a search for sponsorship on a modest scale to offset some of the costs, such a printing.

The event, which will involve young people exploring their experience and the impact of hate crime in a series of presentations and discussion groups, got the go-ahead at a meeting of the group's steering group in Birmingham.

West Midlands Together was founded by Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre and her Labour colleague Neena Gill following a spike in hate crime after the EU referendum last year. Former Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate for the West Midlands Beverley Nielsen has also joined the steering group.

Miss McIntyre said: "The plans are very exciting and we are in the process of choosing between three potential venues. Often young people are at the sharp end when it comes to hate crime and we need their input to form an accurate picture of the scale of the problem.

"There is evidence of large-scale under-reporting of the issue and we want to help pupils and students understand that it should never be something they have to put up with."

Anthea McIntyre MEP led the voices of welcome when a comprehensive report on the policy implications of precision farming was presented to the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said technology was the key to sustainability in farming across the EU - and praised the groundbreaking work in her own region by Harper Adams University in Shropshire.

The committee was receiving a report , Precision Agriculture and the Future of Farming in Europe, from the parliament's Science and Technology Option Assessment body (STOA). It identities four key applications and concerns: food security and safety, sustainability, social change and the need for new skills.

It highlights the diversity of agriculture throughout the EU, regarding particularly farm size, types of farming, farming practices, output and employment.  European policy measures therefore should differentiate between member states, taking into account varying opportunities and concerns from one country to another, it suggests.

Miss McIntyre is herself a member of the parliament's STOA panel and the author of a separate parliamentary report promoting the potential of technology to improve both the productivity and environmental impact of farming.

She told committee members there were huge benefits to be gained by advancing precision farming, for example by using lasers instead of chemicals to tackle weeds.

Precision agriculture did not always have to involve costly machinery, she said. Second-generation drones, for example, could perform important farming jobs quickly and on a large scale. Harvesting could be done by robots.

Praising Britain's leading role on technological innovation, she said: "A  leading agricultural university in my region has done a tremendous amount of work in this area. In 2011 Harper Adams University introduced a long-term traffic-control farming system - using precision technology to direct the movement of  machinery and thus protect the soil."

She stressed: "We should use EU research funds to create practical on-the-ground solutions, not just blue-sky thinking. We need to involve farmers in that research because they will use the technology."