The Government was dealt a blow yesterday when MPs voted against its proposed badger cull. The non-binding vote saw MPs reject the policy by 147 votes to 28 after a heated six-hour debate in the House of Commons.

The Government was dealt a blow yesterday when MPs voted against the proposed badger cull.

A motion tabled by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, calling on the Government to stop the cull and implement a more sustainable and humane solution, prompted a heated six-hour debate in the House of Commons.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas speaking at the House of Commons.The non-binding vote saw MPs reject the Government’s policy of culling badgers by 147 votes to 28 but the Government is not bound by the result, with Environment Secretary Owen Paterson saying he intends to push ahead with the culls.

Mr Paterson later defended himself against criticism after being accused by Labour MPs of muttering “I can’t stand anymore of this” when he left the debate just 20 minutes in.

He said: “I was between meetings so I thought I would slip in for 20 minutes to see how the debate was going. It was a backbench debate.

“I listened for a while then had to go to another meeting at 12.45pm. I didn’t storm in or out anywhere. As I left I might have joked about the ill-informed comments of the other side.”

Despite Mr Paterson’s confidence that the trials culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset will go ahead, opponents feel the Commons defeat could prove terminal to the plan.

Following the debate, Labour’s shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said that the “writing is on the wall” and that she was “confident the cull would not now go ahead.”

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