Badger cull: new consultation 'crucial' says minister

Badger Image copyright PA
Image caption A new consultation on a badger cull is 'crucial' says Farming Minister

Even without the phone hacking scandal this parliamentary session was due to end with a roar rather than a whimper as far as the South West was concerned.

The government had promised responses to two important consultations - on plans to modernise the coastguard service and whether to approve a badger cull - before MPs broke up for the summer.

With just a few days to spare it managed to pronounce on both - though without resolving either issue.

In both cases we now have amended proposals subject to yet more consultation.

As far as badgers go, though, the government has moved appreciably closer to approving a cull.

The Farming Minister Jim Paice gave me this rather enlightening interview just after the announcement.

Stressing that there's still a question mark over whether the cull will actually happen, he also concedes the issue has proved rather trickier to handle in government than it might have appeared in opposition.