Thank you for contacting me about the government’s decision to allow English sugar beet farmers to use the neonicotinoid, thiamethoxam, which is harmful to bees and other wild pollinators.

In the UK, 35 species of bee are under threat of extinction. The population of pollinating insects in our country has been in decline for many years. UK bees and other pollinating insects face many threats from habit loss, climate change, disease and – of course – toxic pesticides such as neonicotinoids.

Declining bee diversity and abundance will have a hugely negative impact on the natural world. Bees and other wild pollinators are vital for not just for the environment, but also for the farming industry, as many of our foods are pollinated by bees.

In the Labour Party, we are serious about reversing the decline of biodiversity in the UK and protecting our natural habitats. In government, we would ban harmful pesticides like neonicotinoids.

Recently, in the Report Stage of the Environment Bill, Labour tabled an amendment to maintain the ban on bee-killing pesticides. Regrettably, this amendment was rejected by the government, but we will continue to press the government on this issue as the Environment Bill continues its journey through Parliament.

If you would like to read the Labour Party’s other commitments on pesticides, please click on the following link to access our 2019 Manifesto for the Environment:

You can be assured that Labour will continue to push for bold action on solving the UK’s biodiversity and nature crisis.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me about this important issue. If you have any further points you would like to raise, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

Best wishes,


The Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP

Islington South and Finsbury

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