Mixed messages on badger cull - what's going on at Defra?

Alex Forrest

Former Political Correspondent

Defra says the badger cull will still go ahead. Credit: PA

Are badgers getting a reprieve or not?

The Department for the Environment had an announcement to make this lunchtime. But now I'm told there's nothing to say.

I was due to interview the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson this morning. That got cancelled.

Then it was re-instated for 12:45. But that has now been cancelled too.

A Government source told ITV News that the badger cull was about to be killed off - well, at least delayed for a year.

A source at Defra told me that wasn't completely accurate but neither was it completely wrong.

It was a question of timing, I was told. An 'operational' announcement, I was promised, was due any moment.

But then a call from Defra. No U-turn on badgers and no delay. The department hopes the cull in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset will go ahead "as soon as is practical". Of course that could still take some time.

But what was really going on in Defra and Government this morning?