Tory MPs have warned food and farming minister Jim Paice not to mess with Lincolnshire – “the most brute and beestelie of counties” – in a heated exchange in the House of Commons over the future of the Lincolnshire sausage.
Edward Leigh said Lincolnshire was “in revolt” over Defra’s decision to reject an application to protect the Lincolnshire sausage with protected geographical indication status – the same European Union scheme that already safeguards Melton Mowbray pork pies and Cornish pasties.
“This is not good enough,” Leigh told Paice. “The last time we rebelled it was against Henry VIII, who called us his most brute and beestelie of counties.”
He said Paice “must support the people of Lincolnshire in this great campaign”.
Fellow Lincolnshire Tory MP Stephen Phillips said the application to protect the sausage had “overwhelming” public support.
An appeal against Defra’s decision was now pending and new evidence in favour of the application would be put forward, he added.
“I hope that [Paice] can reassure me and the people of Lincolnshire that our compelling case for the Lincolnshire sausage will now be recognised.”
Paice said he was aware Defra’s rejection of the original application had been disappointing for the people of Lincolnshire but stressed the sausage had been rejected on valid grounds.
“We found considerable variation in the recipes being used and a large proportion of so-called Lincolnshire sausages are made outside the county,” he said. “We felt that the whole application was rather too loose.”
But he added that any new evidence put forward during the appeal would be properly taken into account.