Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre today condemned moves to re-open the decision to licence the world's most popular weedkiller for use in the European Union.
The European Parliament's Special Committee on Pesticides wants the issue to be reassessed just 12 months after Glyphosate was licensed for five years by EU member states. The call is among a raft of recommendations produced by the temporary committee aimed at overhauling pesticide licensing system.
Conservative Agriculture Spokesman Miss McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands, said the proposal on Glyphosate was politically motivated, flew in the face of scientific evidence and would create further uncertainty for farmers.
She said: "The licence was renewed after Glyphosate was approved for use by both the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemical Agency, bodies set up and funded by the EU precisely to provide this kind of expert advice.
"Casting doubt on its immediate future once again makes it difficult for farmers to plan ahead and risks calling the EU's regulatory procedures into disrepute."
It is estimated that banning Glyphosate would cut UK production of winter wheat and winter barley by 12% and oil seed rape by 10%, costing the farming industry £940m a year. Its use also lessens the need for mechanical ploughing, reducing pollution and soil erosion. No biological alternatives are expected to be commercially available in the near future.
Miss McIntyre welcomed several proposals in the report, such as the calls for greater transparency and non-animal tests on pesticides, but said on the whole it represented a missed opportunity to fine tune the existing approvals system, which is working well according to evidence presented to the committee. Instead MEPs are proposing to take responsibilities away from member states and centralise much of the testing and approval process within the EU institutions and agencies.
She said: "There is absolutely nothing to suggest member states are less good at licensing products than the EU, and they are certainly more knowledgeable about local needs and conditions.
"Sadly this report is driven by partisan politics and lobby groups, not the best interests of consumers, the environment or the need to safeguard food production. At the same time it risks needlessly undermining confidence in the current licensing system.
"It could have been written the day after the committee was established as it ignores the bulk of expert evidence presented to it."
The committee's report has no legal authority but, if approved by the European Parliament in January, would inform future decision making on pesticides.
Senior Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre today urged her colleagues in Westminster to back the Prime Minister's Brexit deal for the sake of the country.
The West Midlands MEP, a former vice chairman of the party, said: "Everybody has had the opportunity to say their piece and to paint their own picture of a perfect outcome.
"But no agreement will be perfect for anyone and now is the time back our Prime Minister and do what is best for Britain by supporting her deal."
She spoke out as Theresa May continued to set out her reasons for supporting the Brussels deal as the best option for future national prosperity.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative spokesman on both employment and agriculture in Brussels, said: "As an MEP I do not get to vote in Westminster - but if I did I would be backing the Prime Minister 100 per cent and encouraging all my colleagues to do the same.
"The deal she has struck achieves so many key targets. We secure control of our borders, we can set our own fisheries and agriculture policies, and we can negotiate free trade deals outside the EU, while protecting jobs and security.
"It is the very nature of negotiation that there are comprises and that nobody is satisfied with every single aspect of a deal. So you can wait for perfection but achieve only deadlock... or act now and secure Britain's future.
"I encourage MPs of all parties, but especially our own, to respect our Prime Minister and to recognise the enormous amount of hard work that has got us this far. That means pursuing pragmatism in place of perfection and backing this deal for Britain's sake."
Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre has headed off an attempt to slap an immediate ban on British undertakers from the traditional practice of embalming bodies.
Miss McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands and Conservative Employment Spokesman in the European Parliament, intervened over concerns from the UK funeral industry that new rules on workplace exposure to carcinogens and mutagens would mean an immediate end to the use of embalming fluid to preserve cadavers.
Currently in more than half of British funerals, families ask undertakers for the body of their loved one to undergo some form of embalming, often when they wish to see them in repose. The practice is not so frequent in other parts of Europe.
British funeral directors were concerned that new EU exposure limits for formaldehyde - the key ingredient in embalming fluid - would mean an end to traditional embalming before any replacement products could be developed.
Now Miss McIntyre has persuaded fellow MEPs to grant the funeral industry an exceptional three-year delay in implementation so that proposed new methods and materials can be tested and introduced. The parliament's Employment Committee accepted her compromise in a vote in Brussels
She said: "Many British families choose to visit a funeral parlour to see their loved ones after they have died. It is part of the grieving process and often provides great comfort. Embalming ensures that they have the reassurance of seeing the deceased as they remember them.
"The truth is that lower effective concentrations of embalming fluid and better ventilation have been keeping exposure of workers to formaldehyde fumes lower and lower in Britain as time goes on. It is safer than it has ever been.
"This new legislation is well meant, but I don't think official in Brussels realised quite how big the impact would be on Britain. I am thankful that colleagues have allowed this extended implementation and avoided an immediate ban."
Anthea McIntyre, Conservative Employment spokesman in the European Parliament, today hailed new figures on wage growth as evidence that Government policy continued to create more jobs and better prospects.
She said: "More people are working - and their efforts are earning them more. This broad progress continues month after month, year after year.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, spoke as new statistics showed real wages rising at their fastest pace in nearly ten years - while the number of people in work was at record high as the economy continued to grow.
She said: "Some people are calling it the jobs miracle - but this is down to good government rather than divine intervention.
"I always say businesses create jobs - not politicians. But businesses need the right conditions and encouragement to thrive.
"Our government is helping people into work by backing business and delivering a modern Industrial Strategy.
"That is helping businesses create more and better-paying jobs across the whole country.”
West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre has joined farmers and producers' groups in a "flash" event outside the European Parliament to highlight unfair trading practices by retail giants.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative agriculture spokesman, joined the action in Strasbourg ahead of key vote on proposals to deliver a fairer deal for growers and protection from bullying by major supermarket chains.
COPA COGECA, the European farmers' and co-operatives trade body, organised the event which saw tractors parked outside the parliament building with a message "#CutTheUnfair".
Miss McIntyre has played a key role in shaping EU-wide proposals put forward by the parliament's Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. They aim to protect farmers and suppliers from sharp practice including late payments and last-minute cancellation of contracts for fresh produce.
They also demand greater clarity in supply agreements.
At Miss McIntyre's recommendation, the proposals draw on the experience of the UK's Groceries Code Adjudicator, a position created in 2013 to re-evaluate the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers.
After the event, Miss McIntyre said: "We were aiming to send a clear message to any wavering MEPs that farmers and growers are not seeking special status - just respect and fairness from the businesses which ultimately depend on them.
"It would be good if this could happen everywhere without the intervention of politicians or regulation, but sadly there a some big businesses out there that will seek to take unfair advantage from what they see as a one-sided relationship.
"I am pleased that the UK has taken a lead in providing a solution and set the course for the rest of Europe."
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