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Pro-Euro comic binned for taking wrong tone

A PRO-EUROPEAN children's comic produced by the European Commission and pulped amid fears that it may result in a Euro-sceptic backlash if published in Britain was "ill-judged" and "inaccurate", the Government said yesterday.

Andrew Smith, the Employment minister, said the 75,000 copies of the comic The Raspberry Ice Cream War, were "piled up in a warehouse somewhere in Oxfordshire."

Aimed at youngsters aged from seven to 16, the comic was translated into English from the original German.

But Geoffrey Martin, the European Commission representative in Britain, decided that distribution was "inappropriate" in this country because it did not take a UK-specific perspective on issues such as the single currency.

The matter was raised during question time by Christopher Gill, the Euro- sceptic Conservative MP for Ludlow.

Mr Gill, said: "The glossy children's comic produced by the European Commission and ludicrously entitled The Raspberry Ice Cream War has been pulped. Will you tell us exactly what his [Mr Martin's] consideration was in taking the decision to pulp this comic - and also tell us how much it has cost the public purse to produce this comic?"

Replying, Mr Smith told MPs that it was now a matter for the European Commission what to do with the copies

He said: "This undoubtedly was an ill-judged and in part factually inaccurate publication. As to what happens to it now, that is a matter for the Commission.

"They might want to donate it to Oxfordshire's recycling efforts, or simply send them back to Brussels."