The co-founder of the West Midlands Together campaign believes new Home Office figures on hate crime should be taken as a danger warning to society.

Anthea McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, was responding to Home Office statistics published today and showing a significant increase in hate crimes in the year 2016-2017.

The biggest rise was in disability and transgender hate crimes.

The report also noted spikes in hate crime around the time of the EU referendum and after the Westminster Bridge attack in March this year.

Miss McIntyre launched the cross-party West Midlands Together campaign, together with her Labour colleague Neena Gill MEP, in the aftermath of the referendum to promote unity and challenge hate crime.

"These figures show a direct link between prominent events and sudden increases in these incidents and attacks.

"We have also seen an increase in people's readiness to report disability and transgender hate crime - and that is good news. There has anecdotally been a significant problem with under-reporting in all sectors.

"We want to make the West Midlands a beacon for tolerance and understanding, where these insidious crimes have no place.

"No event - be it a referendum, a terrorist attack or someone simply walking down the street - can ever provide justification for racism, religious discrimination, homophobia or any other kind of prejudice and hatred."

Anthea McIntyre MEP is continuing to push forward the farming technology agenda with two high-profile events in the European Parliament.

She has co-hosted a forum on The Future of Farming which brought together a range of experts in Brussels to explore the sector's great challenges and opportunities.

And she took part in a panel yesterday (Weds) examining The Impact of Regulation on Agricultural Innovation.

Contributors at the Future of Farming event included Professor Simon Blackmore of Harper Adams University, Shropshire, and Edwin Hecker of the Internet of Food and Farm 2020. They spoke on the benefits of precision agriculture, while further panels and round-tables covered new plant-breeding techniques, societal challenges, and how new technology could improve farming systems.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, was uniquely well-placed to contribute to both events. She has produced a report on Technological Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture, which was adopted by the European Parliament last year, and she chairs a Better Regulation Task Force set up  by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the parliament.

She said: 'These events highlighted a range of areas where effective harnessing of innovation will boost productivity while protecting the environment and biodiversity.

"But I also had to warn that badly thought-out regulation could be the enemy of progress. I stressed the innovation principle - that regulation must always allow research and enterprise to drive innovation by using genuine science-based evidence in evaluating risk and benefit.

"This is where precision farming and information technology come in - improving soil-health and water management, precision livestock farming, precision breeding and even precision entomology.

"While the use of standard equipment with precision-farming techniques can prove beneficial, it is only with the development of what are called 'disruptive' technologies that real gains can be made.

"These are developments such as laser weed-killing systems and second-generation drones, capable of undertaking field tasks rather than simply capturing images.

"Farmers are the major stewards of our environment. They need continued access to innovation, new technology and research in order to produce food in a sustainable way and protect the environment for future generations.

"In that, they need help not hindrance from the regulatory framework."

Britain's ceramics industry will need close care and attention during Brexit to prevent a flood of cheap crockery being dumped by China, a leading MEP is warning.

Anthea McIntyre made the rallying call for British ceramics following a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, which examined threats facing the industry.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands region which includes Stoke on Trent and The Potteries, said: "My region is standard-bearer for quality in crockery, tableware and industrial ceramics. In a fair marketplace we can compete on a global scale - but unless we have protection against dumping from the Far East, we will be hard hit and jobs will be lost.

"We have had protection from dumping because of World Trade Organisation rules and European Union anti-dumping legislation, but those things are all in flux."

She backed calls by the British Ceramics Confederation for a programme of measures including adoption of all anti-subsidy, anti-dumping and safeguarding measures allowed under WTO rules, and promotion of a genuine global free trade environment.

Miss McIntyre said: "China would be very happy selling us cheap dinner services for less than they cost to make. They are not operating in a free market.

"Britain and the West Midlands are synonymous with excellence in ceramics. We must not let Brexit give our competitors the opportunity to undermine us unfairly."

West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre has welcomed Government backing for Birmingham's bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

She spoke of her "pride and joy" after Culture Secretary Karen  Bradley announced that Birmingham would be the UK's official candidate city.

Miss McIntyre said: "As a Conservative I am delighted our Government has thrown its full weight behind the Birmingham bid. It fills me with pride in our region and joy at the prospect of bringing this huge event to our own back yard.

"This would be the most spectacular sports gathering the country has seen since London 2012. Not only would it be a great sporting party but it can have a transformational effect on large parts of the conurbation.

"Now we must pull out all the stops to make sure we have the best bid of all the candidate cities."

Anthea McIntyre MEP has welcomed plans from the EU Commission for the immediate creation of a task force improve EU legislation.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, has been a consistent campaigner against red tape and over-zealous regulation. She said: "This task force looks like a major step forwarding in making sure decisions get taken at the right level and that the EU only intervenes where it brings true benefit.

"I will do all I can to help it in its work."

She was responding to a section of Jean Claude Juncker's "State of the Union" speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg in which he said the Commission would continue be "big on big issues and small on the small ones."

He said the current commission was putting forward fewer than 25 initiatives a year where previous Commissions had proposed more than 100, and added: "To finish the work we started, I am setting up a Subsidiarity and Proportionality Task Force as of this month to take a very critical look at all policy areas to make sure we are only acting where the EU adds value.

"First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who has a proven track record on better regulation, will head this Task Force. The Timmermans Task Force, which should include Members of this Parliament as well as Members of national Parliaments, should report back in a years' time."

As chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group's Better Regulation Working Party and Conservative Employment spokesman, Miss McIntyre has brought forward a series of reports highlighting the need for regulation to be proportionate, based on proper evidence and practical in the real world.

She said: "I shall be very pleased to feed these recommendations through to Mr Timmermans, who is certainly a man we can do business with.

"I am pleased he will be inviting participation from national parliamentarians as well as MEPs. Britain may be leaving the EU but we have every reason to want to see the EU run well and we will make what contributions we can."