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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December, 2004, 13:49 GMT
MP in Commons attack on TV show
Tony Banks
Tony Banks is stepping down at the next election
Labour MP Tony Banks has accused hit ITV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here of animal cruelty.

He is worried about treatment of animals during "Bushtucker trials", when contestants must endure being covered in rats or bugs.

Mr Banks called for ITV to introduce safeguards for creatures "if the public has to endure another dose of this second-rate rubbish".

But ITV said animal experts were on hand for every trial involving animals.

"We have safeguards in place for the Bushtucker trials. The RSPCA New South Wales was notified about all the Bushtucker trials involving mammals and reptiles and inspectors had an open invitation to attend the site at any time," said an ITV spokeswoman.

Complaints over-ruled

She added: "The production team goes to great lengths to plan and design the trials and rely upon detailed expert advice which enables them to take appropriate steps to protect the welfare of animals."

Joe Pasquale
Comic Joe Pasquale won the latest series of the show
The former complaints watchdog the Independent Television Commission received more than 50 complaints about cruelty to wildlife on the show in 2002.

But it eventually ruled that animal welfare organisations had been contacted and animal handlers were involved in the making of the show.

Former sports minister Mr Banks is well known for his outspoken views, recently saying the problems of his West Ham constituents were "tedious in the extreme".

He is standing down at the next election after more than 20 years as an MP.

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