Anthea McIntyre, Conservative agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, has been appointed to a special committee on pesticides and will lead as Coordinator for the European Conservatives and Reformists group.

The committee has been set up in the wake of an attempt by some MEPs to ban the popular weedkiller glyphosate.

Sitting for nine months, it will examine the scientific evaluation of glyphosate, the world's most commonly-used weed killer, which was eventually relicensed for five years by the EU in December after months of uncertainty.

The committee will also consider wider issues around the authorisation of pesticides and how the EU applies scientific advice in weighing risk.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said:  "My message will be that the science must come first, last and always in deciding the safety and effectiveness of pesticides.

"Scare stories and rogue studies must never lead the process. Instead we need to weigh the full body of scientific research and heed the advice of our own experts.

"The glyphosate controversy was a prime example of people putting scaremongering before science for reasons of political convenience.  It nearly resulted in farmers losing their most effective weapon against plant pests, with zero gain for public health.

"A ban would have been bad for rural livelihoods, bad for food prices and bad for the environment - because alternatives methods to using glyphosate harm biodiversity."

Miss McIntyre will be joined on the Committee by her fellow West Midlands MEP Daniel Dalton.