Suffolk Coastal MP and Under Secretary at the Department of the Environment Thérèse Coffey tweeted a picture over the weekend of Round Up weedkiller, with the comment “Getting ready to deploy the amazing round up!”
Ben Gummer summed up how many SCGP members felt in his one-word reply: “Er…”
Dr Coffey’s tweet was ill-judged. Last week the product’s manufacturers, Monsanto, paid $289 million (£226 million) in damages to a man with cancer. There are currently 5,000 plaintiffs in similar lawsuits across America.
SCGP issued a press release saying that her comments were ‘ill-timed and irresponsible.’
Interviewed by Suffolk Radio, Dr Coffey was quick to disassociate herself from endorsing Round Up (“there are, of course, other products”), but maintained that Round Up was as safe as any other household product, if handled carefully. Round Up has no toxicity warning on its label, despite the World Health Organisation’s classification of glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic’ in 2015, What’s more, studies have shown the harm which glyphosate causes to wildlife, birds, insects, water and soil.
SCGP have drafted a letter to Dr Coffey, calling on her to urgently withdraw her endorsement of Round Up. We have added a further 8 signatories and expect this number to increase.