Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has today denied claims from badger cull opponents that he walked out of a House of Commons debate.
Opponents of the policy, which aims to control the spread of tuberculosis in cows by allowing badgers to be shot, made the claim on social networks yesterday.
He was also accused by Labour MPs of saying he ‘can’t stand any more of this’ as he left.
But the north Shropshire MP denied walking out and said any comment was in response to the debate.
Green MP Caroline Lucas had tabled a motion calling on the Government to ‘stop the cull and implement a more sustainable and humane solution’ of vaccinating against bovine TB and improved testing.
The motion was backed by 147 votes to 28.
But the Government is not bound by the result and Mr Paterson said he had ‘every intention that these culls go ahead’, adding 26,000 cattle were lost to the disease last year.
Mr Paterson 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.”