Miss Symonds is an animal rights advocate and a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and along with Lord Goldsmith has been a staunch critic of the cull. Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers ordered Natural England to scrap the cull in Derbyshire, where badgers are being vaccinated against tuberculosis. The Guardian report this was just three weeks after Miss Symonds was briefed by Badger Trust chief Dominic Dyer.
Stuart Roberts, vice-President of the NFU farmers union, said: “We think that what the secretary of state did is unlawful, and that is why we’re launching this legal challenge.
“Alongside the Derbyshire farmers, we’re asking the court to rule that the direction issued to Natural England should be overturned.
“It’s come to light that before the secretary of state made her decision, her expert veterinary and scientific advisers told her that a licence should be issued to the Derbyshire area, to prevent the spread of bovine TB.”
Mr Roberts added: “It remains our view that any policy decisions must be based on science and evidence.”
Carrie Symonds' influence on Boris Johnson is set to be probed in court (Image: GETTY)
It comes following the Government's decision to pull a badger cull (Image: GETTY)
The High Court have ruled the NFU lawyers will be able to examine the basis the Government had for pulling the cull.
Ms Villiers confirmed: “Certainly we engaged with No 10 on the decision on Derbyshire, yes.”
She said she was given no specific “direction” but a “conversation had taken place”.
Mr Dyer defended Miss Symonds’ role telling The Observer: “I relayed my concerns to the Prime Minister in an open letter on the need to stop the badger cull in Derbyshire and other counties and I am pleased to see that Carrie made sure this reached him in Downing Street.
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Lord Goldsmith could replace Theresa Villiers as Environment Secretary according to reports (Image: GETTY)
“It is completely legitimate for the Badger Trust or any other organisation opposing the badger cull policy to seek to engage with the Prime Minister in this way, particularly on such a hugely