Mark Green and Sean Mason, co-founders of the Two Farmers crisp company joined the Herefordshire Conservative Business Breakfast Forum at the Harewood End Inn as guest speakers.

Mark told the group he was a second generation farmer, born and bred in Herefordshire and passionate about potatoes. For many years he had dreamt about making high quality crisps.

Being a good friend of Sean’s, a fellow farmer and potato merchant, the two hatched the idea of starting their own venture in a pub one evening. They knew they had the right location, the farm, factory and renewable energy; but they needed the correct machinery, locally sourced flavours and packaging.

They launched the brand at a trade fair in September 2018 - without any crisps! They had designed a compostable crisp bag, placed Hereford acorns inside - and told customers to go away and plant the bag. It proved to be a great success and many left details to get in touch once the product was available.

Now the brand offers four flavours incorporating brine salt from Droitwich, Worcestershire, vinegar made from their own cider, Herefordshire Hop cheese and Herefordshire beef.

Mark said they launched the product just as the Blue Planet series went live and the compostable packaging took off. 

Sean explained how they had just exported to Singapore and the crisps were proving to be a great success in that part of the world. They had recently launched a large “sharing tin” which can be recycled or re-used - and plans were in place to extend the flavour range to six or seven by next year. 

Anthea McIntyre MEP, Chairman of HCBF later commented: “Two Farmers Crisps is a great success. It is a brilliant product and we were very fortunate to have them exhibit at the Herefordshire Showcase which we staged in Brussels last February."

Anthony Snell commented in his vote of thanks: "It is wonderful to see how loyal and passionate Mark and Sean are about Herefordshire. What a great use of environmental packaging and to develop this initiative here in this county is amazing”.

The work of Conservative MEPs will leave the EU with a legacy of better lawmaking and greater sensitivity to the needs of small business, a conference fringe event heard.

British Conservatives have long pushed a better regulation agenda aimed at reducing red tape, simplifying legislation, honouring subsidiarity, and prioritising small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), said West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre.

"In recent years, such ideas have been taken on board and the better-regulation agenda has slowly come to the fore in Commission thinking," she said.

 "The European Conservative and Reformists Group's Better Regulation Policy Group, which I chair, has been pushing this agenda for some time and saw some real breakthroughs in the last mandate.

"(Commissioner) Frans Timmermans, despite being from the Socialists, has proved to be an unlikely ally and in his role co-ordinating the Commission’s work in the area of Better Regulation, he has been very receptive to our vision."

Miss McIntyre, Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament, was hosting a fringe event on Sunday - A positive view for UK business in Europe and the wider world.

Expert speakers included Mike Cherry OBE, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, and Tony Caldeira, CEO of the cushion and pillow manufacturer Caldeira Group.

Miss McIntyre said: "When the UK leaves the EU, it will leave behind a strong legacy in this area, much of which is thanks to the UK Conservatives. Whatever the future relationship between the UK and the EU, UK business will still need to export to and work with their counterparts in the EU. 

"We should remember that SMEs constitute 99.9% of all UK businesses and are responsible for 40% of business employment."

She pointed to the Think Small First principle and the adoption of an annual burden survey among several examples of how Conservative influence had improved the EU's  consideration toward SMEs. 

A new study promoting the application of so-called nudge theory in policy-making will be launched at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

The booklet, authored by Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre, draws together a body of work on nudge, also known as behavioural economics, and challenges policy makers to consider wider use of such techniques in place of heavy-handed legislation.

The study is called Nudge Theory: Behavioural Economics in European Policy Making and has the subtitle "Creating smarter, more-effective policies and programmes."

As well as testimony from "nudge" experts, especially in the fields of public health and law enforcement, the booklet reports the findings of a high-level hearing in Brussels held by the European Conservative and Reformist Group's Policy Group on Better Regulation, which West Midlands MEP Miss McIntyre chairs.

It uses case histories to demonstrate how employing the appropriate persuasive messages can be more effective in influencing public behaviour than regulation and punitive sanctions.

The launch will take place at a fringe event on Sunday evening within the conference secure zone, focusing on business and hosted by Miss McIntyre, who is Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament.

She said: "There will be range of business voices as well as politicians at the event - and they know well that a lighter touch in guiding individual or corporate behaviour can produce the right results without added burdens or red tape.

"The challenge for the future is to encourage use of nudge techniques in policy making across Europe. Evidence shows they can be applied to a host of areas including environmental, economic and social policies.

"Regardless of the desired outcome, a greater understanding of people's behaviour and how they are likely to react to different approaches can enable policy-makers to create smarter regulation."

The new European Union Commission must support innovation in biotech and gene editing if it is to achieve its ambitions for creating clean technology  and high-value jobs, a leading MEP warned today.

The warning came from Anthea McIntyre, UK Conservative spokesman on both agriculture and environment, at a symposium on gene editing held in the European Parliament as part of European Biotech Week.

She cited population increase, climate change and pressures from alternative land use as pressures on food production and said: "Our ambition as Europe is to be world leaders in clean tech, innovation, high value jobs, an inclusive society and good access to healthcare for all.

"This has been reflected recently in the new Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s mission letters to the commissioners designate. But we simply cannot deliver on this ambition without supporting innovative sectors such as biotech.

"We have seen most recently the impact of the European Court ruling, just over a year ago, on the plant based innovation sector. Wide-spread alarm has been raised by EU researchers and academics on the likely negative impacts on this world-leading sector and on the possible consequences for food waste and food security.

"The current legislation is not fit for purpose and urgently needs review to ensure risk-based, proportionate and science-based policy. I hope that the new commission will commit to working on this over the coming five years and I know industry stands ready to support this process 

"We must provide the most fertile ground for EU innovation and we need to keep doing what we do best, which is collaborating and working across nationalities and disciplines.

"The EU and particularly this Parliament has to decide whether we accept science or not in our decision making. I hope we do!"

India must end its persecution in Kashmir if it is ever to be genuinely regarded as one of the great democracies, or considered a candidate for the United Nations Security Council.

That was the message from Anthea McIntyre MEP in a speech to the European Parliament.

The Conservative MEP for the West Midlands said: "Forty-three days ago the Indian Government revoked Articles 370 and 35a of the Indian constitution and thus removed, at stroke, the guarantee of Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy.

"We have seen a huge surge in the number of troops deployed there, a total communications blackout, curfews, house arrests and the unlawful detention of local people."

Miss McIntyre, co-chairman of the European Parliament's Friends of Kashmir Group, cited violations of human rights, including the use of shotguns against peaceful protesters.

She said: "Just look at the case of Asrar Ahmad Khan. Despite the denials of the Indian Government, medical records and scans released by the hospital present irrefutable evidence that he died as the result of a shotgun pellet to the head.

"I visited Azad Kashmir last year and heard heartbreaking accounts of civilians, including infants, being fired at with shotguns.

 "Whatever justification may be claimed - and in these cases there really is none - there can never be any excuse for killing and maiming and blinding small children.

 "I really cannot understand why a great nation like India, which prides itself on the strength of its democracy, behaves in this way.

"India aspires to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Events of the past month are not the actions of a credible candidate."