Frank Field has blasted the Government’s “reckless” badger cull.

Labour opposition to the cull was defeated in a vote at the Commons yesterday.

The motion to stop pilot trials south west England was defeated by 299 votes to 250.

A total of nine Lib Dems and six Tories defied the Government to vote against the cull.

Labour had called for the debate, which was also triggered by more than 245,000 members of the public signing a petition on the Government’s website calling for a stop to the killing. 

Birkenhead MP Mr Field said: “The Government’s planned badger cull is reckless and simply does not make sense. 

"The weight of evidence does not support their cull. Research has shown that culling in fact increases the proportion of badgers that have tuberculosis.

"The country’s top animal disease scientists have described the cull as 'mindless'. Even the Government’s current chief scientist doesn’t back it.

"It is disappointing that we did not win today’s vote, but we have the majority of public opinion on our side.

"If the pilots do now go ahead, the Government must show us concrete evidence that they are working before going any further. I am very doubtful that we will ever see this evidence."

He said the cull has provoked the largest animal rights campaign since fox hunting in the 1990s.

Mr Field continued: "Bovine TB is an awful disease which must work to counter.

"But this cull isn’t the answer. We need a science-led policy.

"While vaccination is not a ‘magic bullet’ answer to the problem, it is a very promising option and will not provoke such opposition from the public”.

Farmers in two areas of England will be permitted to shoot badger. Under the proposals, about 5,000 badgers will be culled in two pilot zones - West Somerset and West Gloucestershire.

The cull will aim to kill at least 70% of badgers across areas about the size of the Isle of Wight in each zone.

Thousands of badger lovers marched in London on Saturday calling on David Cameron to cancel culls.

Queen guitarist Brian May led around 2,000 ­animal welfare supporters, many dressed as badgers.