A parliamentary debate on the future of the badger cull is due to take place in the House of Commons today (Thursday 25 October).

Anti-cull campaigners won the right to have the policy debated debated after a government e-petition calling for the cull to be scrapped gathered more than 155,000 signatures.

After the debate, ministers will be asked to vote on a motion calling on the government to “stop any planned or present culling of badgers; and further calls on the government to introduce a vaccination programme and measures to improve biosecurity with immediate effect”.

On Tuesday, DEFRA secretary Owen Paterson announced in the Commons that the government was delaying plans to cull badgers this autumn, as part of a wider bovine tuberculosis eradication programme.

Mr Paterson told MPs that the NFU wrote to him asking for the cull to be delayed until next summer.

The union said it could not be confident it could remove enough badgers within the six-week trial period after revised official figures in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset showed there was almost twice as many badgers as first thought.

Nick von Westenholz, NFU head of government affairs, said the outcome of today’s debate would not be legally binding, but it would test the opinion of the House of Commons.

Follow the debate live on the live blog below.

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