MPs reject halal labelling plan

MPs have rejected a proposal to amend the Consumer Rights Bill to force all halal meat products to be clearly labelled.

The motion was put forward by Conservative MP Phillip Davies in response to public debate on the subject, following a number of media reports on unlabelled halal meat in major supermarkets. However the Shipley MP’s proposed amendment was rejected by 281 to 17 votes.

In the Commons debate, Davies claimed: “There is widespread concern about the issue”, before quoting a Daily Mail article written by Taj Hargey, the director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford: “This is covert religious extremism and creeping Islamic fundamentalism making its way into Britain by the back door. It is completely wrong that the food sensitivities of Britain’s Muslims — who amount to just 4.8% of the population — should take precedence over the other 95%.

“Halal meat should never be forced on customers without their knowing, surreptitiously and using clandestine methods.”

However the consensus in the Commons was that this would not be the best approach, with the amendment failing by 264 votes. A number of politicans at the debate clashed with Davies. Labour MP for Bolton South East Yasmin Qureshi said: “When the Honourable Gentleman says the issue is of great importance to the country, he means the Daily Mail and The Sun.” Meanwhile, Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly asked: “Why is he picking on religious communities in his new clause?”

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