GM Crops

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 22nd April 2004.

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Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff Opposition Whip (Commons) 11:30 am, 22nd April 2004

If she will make a statement on her policy on assigning legal liability relating to the planting of genetically modified crops.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government recognise that the commercial growing of GM crops raises issues of legal liability. We have made it clear that we will consult stakeholders on options for providing compensation for any economic losses suffered by non-GM farmers through no fault of their own. We are also considering the issue of liability for environmental damage.

Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff Opposition Whip (Commons)

I am grateful for that helpful response, but why did the Government engage in a shallow procedural trick to stop the vote on the Bill introduced by my hon. Friend Gregory Barker? I accept that they wanted to oppose it, but surely a debate would have been helpful. I understand that there is the prospect in the near future of a debate in Government time on GM crops. If such a debate takes place, will the Minister address the issues at much greater length than he can during a parliamentary question and answer?

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Minister of State (Environment and Agri-Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I can certainly confirm that a commitment was given that there would be an opportunity for a debate on GM crops in Government time, and that commitment is being honoured. I look forward to that debate, which will give all Members an opportunity to raise whatever aspect of the issue they choose.