Eurosceptic MPs defend farm subsidy claims

THREE Tory Eurosceptic MPs have defended their actions after it emerged they had claimed more than £500,000 in farm subsidies over two years.

The three politicians were named by More4 News investigation into European farm payments screened on Friday (24 July).

Former Tory party chairman Michael Ancram received £211,451 for his farm in the Scottish borders, reported the programme.

David Heathcoat-Amory received £114,000 for his Scottish farms, it said, while Philip Dunne received £201,000 for his Herefordshire farm.

Although the farms are entitled to the money, the three men were among 45 MPs who last year supported Eurosceptic Bill Cash’s amendment to the Lisbon treaty.

All three politicians defended the farm subsidy claims.

As a non-active partner, Mr Ancram said he only received money if the farm made a profit, which it hadn’t done in the 12 months to May 2009.

The year before it had only made a small profit, Mr Ancram added.

“I’d love to see the CAP reformed – as long as it exists I am entitled to claim,” he said.

Mr Heathcoat-Amory said his arrangements were part of a farming partnership and the money didn’t go into his bank account.

“This is not a conflict of interest – I have never engaged in debate on the matter,” he told the programme.

“I am a longstanding critic of the European Union – including whole way it is run including payments.”

Mr Dunne said the farm support arrangements enabled him to employ 20 people and farm effectively to award winning environmental standards.

He agreed the CAP was in need of reform but said it should be done at a European-wide level so UK farmers were not disadvantaged.

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