A Tory MEP is under fire after suggesting a badger cull would be a good idea because it would make shaving brushes cheaper.

East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer – who has a moustache – made the comment on the micro-blogging website Twitter.

“And another good reason for a badger cull – it would bring down the exorbitant price of shaving brushes,” he wrote.

A good-quality shaving brush, made from genuine badger hair, can cost upwards of £40. But Mr Helmer’s controversial tweet was lambasted by other Twitter users.

“Shame on you Roger Helmer MEP for your crass and ignorant comment,” replied one user, posting under the name Nefarious Red.

“Is this d*ck for real?” asked another user, David Harwood-Gray.

Another user, Bob Archell, wrote: “Not funny when a politician’s mask slips. The truth is that a cull will simply exacerbate bovine TB.”

It is not the first time Mr Helmer has been criticised for his views.

A whole section of Wikipedia is dedicated to controversies involving his comments on rape, homophobia, Christianity, speeding and the environment.

An NFU spokesman said farmers in favour of a badger cull were not anti-badger, they were anti-bovine TB.

Plans for a badger cull to combat TB in disease hotspot areas of England are expected to be announced by Defra within the next few days.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: “Science has shown us that a policy including badger controls is fundamental if we are to reduce TB in cattle. It is not a position anyone, including the NFU, has arrived at lightly. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made.In this case, it is absolutely clear that we need to start tackling the level of TB in badgers.”

* Farmers Weekly has set up a dedicated channel for all stories connected to proposals for a badger cull.

* Don’t let your opinion go unheard – have your say on this topic on the FWi forums