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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

EU Parliament: Clear “No” to new GM Maize – UK MEPs out of step

Immediate release (17 Jan 2014)

GM Freeze welcomed yesterday’s rejection by the European Parliament of a second GM maize crop in EU fields. [1]

The resolution, from the Environment Committee, instructed the Council of Ministers to oppose commercialisation of the controversial GM maize Pioneer1507 on the grounds it will harm non-target insects like butterflies and because it is resistant to the weedkiller glufosinate. The resolution was passed by 385 votes to 201 with 30 abstentions (62.5% in favour). [2]

GM Freeze noted with dismay that of 73 total UK MEPs 33 voted against the motion (45.2% against), effectively signalling their support for this unwanted, risky GM crop. [3]

Authorisation of the crop will be voted on by the Council, which is facing a deadline of 7 February to process the application due to a General Court ruling in September 2013. [4] If the Council does not return a qualified majority either way the unelected Commission can decide on the application.

GM Freeze Director Helena Paul commented:

We know the UK public does not want GM crops, yet when it comes to the resolution more UK MEPs failed to vote at all than voted to keep a new GM crop out of EU fields. Voters need to take note.

We also know that even Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson says of Pioneer1507, ‘This is not a crop of practical interest for UK farmers,’ yet he urges its acceptance. [5] Apparently many UK MEPs also think it’s ok to vote for a new GM crop in someone else’s back yard. These votes were cast by a mix of Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative MEPs, showing that as we approach MEP elections in May there is plenty for UK voters to worry about if they want UK fields to remain GM-free into the future.

The Parliament has made itself clear: there are several good reasons why Pioneer1507 is unacceptable for cultivation in the EU. The UK Government needs to vote ‘No’ on the application.

Notes

[1] GM Freeze, 17 December 2013. “GM Freeze statement: GM maize 1507 cultivation application process”

[2] See www.votewatch.eu/en/motion-for-a-resolution-pursuant-to-rule-88-2-and-3-of-the-rules-of-procedure-on-the-proposal-for-a-.html

[3] Full UK MEP voting roll below

[4] GM Freeze, 13 November 2013. “UK Warned: Devolved rejection of GM means UK must vote “No” on new maize

[5] Speech at Oxford Farming Conference from Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, 7 January 2014. “Opportunity in Agriculture

UK MEP votes on Pioneer1507 motion
(a vote against the motion is a vote to allow cultivation of this GM crop):

MEP Constituency Vote
Stuart Agnew East of England Against
Martina Anderson Northern Ireland For
Marta Andreasen South East England Against
Richard Ashworth South East England Against
Robert Atkins North West England Didn’t vote
Gerard Batten London Abstain
Catherine Bearder South East England Against
Phil Bennion West Midlands Against
Godfrey Bloom Yorkshire & the Humber Didn’t vote
Sharon Bowles South East England Against
Philip Bradbourn West Midlands Didn’t vote
Andrew Brons Yorkshire & the Humber For
John Bufton Wales Didn’t vote
Martin Callanan North East England Against
David Campbell Bannerman East of England Against
Michael Cashman West Midlands Against
Giles Chichester South West England Against
Derek Clark East Midlands Abstain
Trevor Colman South West England Didn’t vote
William, Earl of Dartmouth South West England Didn’t vote
Chris Davies North West England Against
Nirj Deva South East England Didn’t vote
Diane Dodds Northern Ireland Against
Andrew Duff East of England Against
James Elles South East England Didn’t vote
Jill Evans Wales For
Nigel Farage South East England Didn’t vote
Vicky Ford East of England Against
Jacqueline Foster North West England Didn’t vote
Ashley Fox South West England Against
Julie Girling South West England Against
Nick Griffin North West England For
Fiona Hall North East England For
Daniel Hannan South East England Against
Malcolm Harbour West Midlands Against
Roger Helmer East Midlands Against
Mary Honeyball London Against
Richard Howitt East of England Didn’t vote
Ian Hudghton Scotland Didn’t vote
Stephen Hughes North East England Didn’t vote
Syed Kamall London Against
Saj Karim North West England Against
Timothy Kirkhope Yorkshire & the Humber Didn’t vote
Jean Lambert London For
Sarah Ludford London For
George Lyon Scotland Against
David Martin Scotland For
Linda McAvan Yorkshire & the Humber For
Arlene McCarthy North West England Didn’t vote
Emma McClarkin East Midlands Against
Anthea McIntyre West Midlands Didn’t vote
Edward McMillan-Scott Yorkshire & the Humber Against
Claude Moraes London For
Mike Nattrass West Midlands Abstain
Bill Newton Dunn East Midlands Against
Jim Nicholson Northern Ireland Against
Paul Nuttall North West England Didn’t vote
Brian Simpson North West England For
Nikki Sinclaire West Midlands Abstain
Peter Skinner South East England For
Alyn Smith Scotland Didn’t vote
Struan Stevenson Scotland Against
Catherine Stihler Scotland For
Robert Sturdy East of England Against
Kay Swinburne Wales Against
Charles Tannock London Against
Keith Taylor South East England For
Rebecca Taylor Yorkshire & the Humber Didn’t vote
Geoffrey Van Orden East of England Against
Derek Vaughan Wales Abstain
Graham Watson South West England For
Glenis Willmott East Midlands Against
Marina Yannakoudakis London Didn’t vote